International Fresh Produce Market in Mbombela still just a pipedream

By: Bosman Grobler MPL DA Spokesperson on Agriculture The International Fresh Produce Market in Mbombela that was announced with much fanfare in 2013, is still a long way from being established. During an oversight visit by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) to the Fresh Produce Market last week, it became clear that progress in establishing the market was moving at a snail’s pace. A representative of DARDLEA stated that one of the factors delaying the establishment of the market was that the Environmental Impact Assessments have not been completed, as such, construction could not begin. This however, is in stark contrast to Premier David Mabuza’s State of The Province Address earlier this year where he said all the necessary statutory compliance matters such as the environmental impact assessments had been finalized. Either Premier Mabuza or DARDLEA is misleading the people of Mpumalanga. The land purchased for the market is still covered in sugar cane plantations, and has been since 2013. The only development evident is a bulk sewerage pipe connecting Section B to Section A which has been installed under the R37 road. Click here to view pictures and map. Citing more reasons for the delay, the department also confirmed that the operational, financial and ownership models of the market have been finalized but is yet to be approved by cabinet. DARDLEA and Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) were asked to submit a progress report to the portfolio committee in order for the committee to properly assess the progress made into the establishment of the market. It remains a concern to the DA that MEGA has been tasked with executing this project. This parastatal is notorious for failing to fulfill its mandate and constantly struggles to reach over 50% of its targets. If established properly, the International Fresh Produce Market will have huge potential benefit to both commercial and emerging farmers in the province. The DA will continue to monitor progress of the market to ensure that the project does not remain a pipedream. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################