NATION

Municipal Markets Soon To Open Seven Days

Municipal markets around the country could soon open seven days a week. However, Sunday operations will be limited to the sale of fish, before a date will be set for
13 Jun 2020 15:24
Municipal Markets Soon To Open Seven Days
Shoppers at the Suva market on April 3, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Municipal markets around the country could soon open seven days a week.

However, Sunday operations will be limited to the sale of fish, before a date will be set for the opening of the remainder of the market, Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar said.

She said consumer preferences had changed where people opted to shop on weekends.

For the time being, markets will operate between 7am and 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays, Mrs Kumar said.

Municipal councils are considering ways to assist people who want to set up small businesses to sell food, vegetables and related items, she said.

The Nadi Town Council has set up a flea market at Votualevu and another within the town area on weekends.

Mrs Kumar said the Lautoka City Council was mapping out the prospects of a night market at a location beside the bus station.

“It is a good location because it is between the bus station and the minibus stand, so the food traffic is much bigger.”

Concerns

“Our markets look confused.

“We need to organise the markets so that it is fair and logical.”

Mrs Kumar will deal with unscrupulous market vendors who operate as many as eight stalls, each rented under immediate family members. Investigations found that some stall owners had stalls under their wives and children’s names, she said.

Other stall owners were major suppliers of vegetables to resorts and hotels, she added.

Mrs Kumar called for the establishment of SME markets, where small cubicles were given to small businesses at a higher price.

“They do their business and close up when they want.”

The Minister has urged vendors who sub-leased their tables to put an end to it.

Dictating terms

Mrs Kumar said some vendors dictated the way market managers and municipal councils should run the show.

“These vendors initially demanded that stalls inside the market enclosure be given to them.When farmers come down on weekends to sell, either at a separate farmers’ market or the outside of the markets, inside vendors soon realise that most buyers dealt with farmers outside, and usually did not venture into the market.”

The same set of indoor vendors have booked places outside the markets on weekends, among weekend vendors, Mrs Kumar said.

“These vendors created this problem of confusion for themselves.”

As a solution, the markets should not differentiate between vendors and farmers.”

“We need to get rid of that and allow anyone who wants to sell their produce to be given a stall.”

Informal stalls

Mrs Kumar said roadside vendors woulb soon be notified of the dangers associated with their operations.

She said the influx of informal stalls or small selling points along the roadside were in some cases, positioned at dangerous locations.

“Our policy is to create a space for people wanting to sell, whether in the market or at satellite markets.

“We are discouraging people from setting up stalls everywhere as it is not safe.”

Municipal council will write to such vendors to cease such operations, Mrs Kumar said.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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