Farmer's market initiative launched
Local residents and small farmers flocked to the first farmers’ market held in Mahikeng at the weekend.
The market, which is designed to allow farmers to showcase and trade their produce, is an initiative of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Mahikeng Local Municipality, the North-West University and other stakeholders. Agriculture MEC Desbo Mohono officially opened the market on the western side of the University's Mafikeng Campus along Albert Luthuli Drive on Saturday.
Emerging farmers from Ngaka Modiri Molema district, who find access to markets very challenging, used the opportunity to sell their produce. Vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat and dairy products were on offer.
Mrs Mohono said the market was an investment in the economy of Mahikeng and the province. “More food will be produced and more job opportunities created. It is clear the market will significantly contribute towards the attainment of the goals of the Zero Hunger strategy and ultimately alleviation of poverty, especially among local communities.”
The Mahikeng market serves as a pilot project. Within six months of its launch, farmers’ markets will be established in three other districts in the province. “We’ll make sure all lessons learnt here will be used as points of reference to ensure the success and the sustainability of similar projects around the province.”
According to Mafikeng Campus Rector Prof Dan Kgwadi, the initiative would ensure “that healthy and fresh produce reach our people at affordable prices.
“I would like to encourage students to take full advantage of this.”
The market will operate every second Saturday from 06:00 until 10:00. In summer, trade will start at 5:00. The Department of Agriculture has undertaken to ensure that farmers adhere to public safety and business rules.
The next market will be held on Saturday, 2 June 2012.
Mafikeng Local Municipality Manager Kgotso Rabanye (left) with a local farmer, and a view of the farmers' market (below).