The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in May last year, decentralised the city’s vegetable markets to high-density suburbs after the closure of vending bays along 5th Avenues as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Which were the five fresh produce distribution hubs identified by BCC?
· Sekusile Nkulumane Bus Terminus
· Emganwini Mupedzanhamo Association
· Old Pumula Vegetables Market
· New Magwegwe Market
· Cowdray Park Bus Terminus Market
What were the operational conditions of the decentralised vegetable markets?
· Bulk delivery sites were allocated to an association of farmers markets delivering their produce to the existing food markets in the CBD.
· The operator is Bulawayo Association of Farmers Market (BAFM) and was open to new membership in the farming and vegetable wholesale community.
· The wholesale operated in a fenced-off area for trucks.
· The wholesale was open for licensed operators and bulk purchases.
· Only members of the association were allowed to bring in delivery trucks.
· Council and other stakeholders were policing the markets to eliminate illegal sales such as boot sales.
What are the latest developments on the decentralised vegetable markets?
CITE reached out to Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) director, Michael Mdladla Ndiweni, who gave the following update.
· Council is still encouraging informal traders to identify spaces within their communities in the townships and when they see a space where they can trade.
· Upon identification of space, informal traders can then approach the local authority as a group and then get licenced and get to trade.
· BVTA has been facilitating the licensing of traders for the past two weeks
· So far the association has facilitated the licencing of over 170 traders in the city
· BVTA continues to work with traders to encourage them to identify areas within their communities and then get licensed
· Sizimele consortium is in the process of constructing a wholesale market at Sekusile.
· Land has been identified and Council has approved the plan to develop the wholesale market.
· BVTA says it is beginning to see progress in the decentralisation of the vegetable markets.