The O.R. Tambo District municipality, in collaboration with other stakeholders, held a Pop-up Market Day to support the growth of SMMEs in Mthatha

By Uyanda Mjanyelwa

SEDA together with the O.R. Tambo District Municipality and Ntinga O.R. Tambo Development Agent as well as other key stakeholders conducted a POP-UP Market/ Market Day at the Kei Fresh Produce Market (KFPM) on the 30th of September 2021 in Mthatha. The market was established for farmers and SMME’s so as to provide their fresh produce and exhibit their craft works. This great initiative was conducted to create market for local farmers.

This initiative was created to help local farmers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMMEs) in a variety of industries, including the creative arts. This fantastic initiative brought together a number of SMMEs (25 to be exact) from the O.R. Tambo District in order to gain exposure and display their skill work. Local farmers came in numbers with their fresh products to be sold at low prices.

“We want all the subsistence farmers to bridge the gap between primary and commercial business chain. The biggest challenge faced by local farmers as well as SMME’s is access to market thus we are making strides to create conducive environment for our stakeholders to participate in the food production value chain. Our people need to know where their produce will be sold and must be able to get to the commercial side of the farming. We are looking forward to ensure active participation of local farmers in food production value chain and to conduct more initiatives of this nature to assist local farmers to have access to market,” said Senior Manager Trading Enterprises Mlungiseleli Zilimbola.

Zilimbola also called attention to the fact that the O.R. Tambo District is having a mountain of challenges that are facing local farmers and as a result some of the potential farmers could not manage to bring their produce to the market due to lack of proper infrastructure. However, it was mentioned that this will not be the first nor the last market day, as they are planning to do more market days monthly whilst working closely with all of the relevant stakeholders. Tireless efforts are being made to support local farmers and also to ensure that they are part of the food production value chain in the district. Local farmers who are in primary agriculture and agro-processing are assisted by Kei Fresh Produce Market (KFPM) which is always a solution because it avails the market to them.

Ongoing engagements are being made in order to enhance the level of involvement of local farmers in primary agriculture and to make sure that they make effective use of the opportunities created for them to supply quality produce to the market. KFPM is open to the public who are producers and consumers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables and for consumers as well as sellers to buy and sell from the market.

Secretary of the O.R. Tambo Farmers Association Mlungisi Ndobeni expressed words of gratitude for the revitalisation of programs of this nature.

“As the local farmers we are happy to witness that there are plans in place to assist our efforts in playing a part in the local economy as well as food production in our lovely district. Moreover, we are delighted to see the market working, we do not want to see KFPM becoming a white elephant. We are also happy to see government working in an integrated manner with the aim of ensuring involvement of local people in the affairs of government. We will do our utmost best to support this great initiative and we applaud all the stakeholders that are playing a pivotal role in this initiative,” said Ndobeni.”

Nontando Khethiwe, who was one of the buyers was happy to see the variety of products in good quality and encouraged local farmers to produce more. The program was graced by Seda Regional Manager Mr Mxabo and O.R. Tambo District LED Deputy Director Mr Socikwa. It was also graced by TARDI Deputy Principal Mr Mbovu together with his team. All of these stakeholders played a major role in making sure that the initiative was a success as all hands were on deck and they all showed high level of commitment and resilience.

Local farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities that are created for them and also supply quality produce to the market and hawkers as well as consumers to buy from the market.

For more details you can contact Communications and PR Officer: Siphosethu Tikana at 064 900 8392 or email siphosethut@ntinga.org.za

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