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Market Inquiry into Fresh Produce Market on the Cards

March 29, 2022

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

A Market Inquiry into the South African Fresh Produce Market is on the cards.

The trade, industry and competition department announced the proposed Market Inquiry Terms of Reference in Government Gazette 46093.

According to the Competition Commission, the Market Inquiry, to be initiated in terms of section 43B(1)(a) of the Competition Act, is necessary given that the “Commission has reason to believe that there may exist market features which impede, distort or restrict competitiveness of the South African Fresh Produce Food Market”.

The Terms of Reference sets out the scope as well as the expected timeline for the Market Inquiry.

The Commission points out that fresh produce includes unprocessed products such as fruit and vegetables.

It adds that the “fresh produce industry makes an important contribution to South Africa’s agricultural exports”.

The Commission holds the view that the Market Inquiry is essential in order to “understand the state of competition within the industry, the market features affecting price outcomes, and the challenges currently faced by farmers (especially small-scale and emerging farmers)”.

The importance of the sector to both the economy and employment and the nutrition and welfare of citizens also supports the need for the Inquiry.

Four broad themes that cover the features that may impede, restrict or distort competition and market outcomes have been identified.

They include efficiency of value chain; market dynamics and impact of key inputs for growers; small and HDP growers and participation and barriers to entry in relation to the regulatory environment.

Comment on the Draft Terms of Reference is invited until 25 April 2022.

Once submissions have been reviewed, a Final Terms of Reference will be published.

The Market Inquiry will get underway 20 days after publication of the Final Terms of Reference and a Final Report is planned within 18 months.

Other notices include:

• Gazette 46088 – Sugar Industry Agreement – pest, disease and variety control: 2022/2023 sugarcane varieties for planting commencing 1 April 2022;
• Notice 1933 – Standards Act – draft standards and draft amendment standards published for comment – new and amended standards also included.