The portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development has called on the agriculture, land reform and rural development department to develop legislation on fresh produce markets.
In a statement following briefings from the department and the Agricultural Produce Agents Council on the national fresh produce markets (NFPM), the committee called for improved cooperation between municipalities and agricultural produce agents.
During the briefings, the committee heard that “municipalities were not doing their part to plough back 5% of the revenue generated from these markets for the maintenance and development of the fresh produce markets”.
According to the committee, many markets are “dirty with dilapidating infrastructure and without management capacity by the respective municipalities…”.
The committee will also call on the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department to intervene on the matter.
In its briefing, the department pointed out that the national steering committee (NSC) will continue intensifying and implementing the mentorship and coaching program, the department’s representative on the NSC to communicate with the agriculture, land reform and rural development minister on the possibility and option of gazetting the codes of best practice as official norms and standards for the fresh produce industry and the department, in conjunction with the labour department, to be approached so that they can contribute on matters related to food safety standards as well as occupational health and safety at NFPMs.
The department added that, having exhausted all platforms to improve the markets, there is a need by industry stakeholders to engage and sensitise the minister on the importance of establishing the National Fresh Produce Market Council.
Meanwhile, in Government Gazette 44230, the department republished the control measures relating to Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) and Citrus greening: Asian and American strains (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and Candidatus Liberibacter americanus).
The control measures were drawn up in terms of the Agricultural Pests Act.
All users of land in South Africa are expected to immediately notify the department of any occurrence or suspected occurrence of the pests listed in Table 1.
The department is then expected to immediately within 6 days take the necessary phytosanitary measures and/or phytosanitary actions to identify and confirm the presence of regulated pests specified in Table 1 in an area and to prevent the spread.