Latest News Editor's Choice

News / Local

Nkulumane market takes shape

by Staff reporter
14 Dec 2022 at 01:30hrs | Views
A MASSIVE market place in Bulawayo, which will help decongest the city centre and redefine fruit and vegetable trading is taking shape in Nkulumane suburb.

The fruit and vegetable produce distribution hub is being constructed near Nkulumane Mall where producers will be able to rent stalls and sell their produce.

The project is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works under the Building Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe through Safe Markets and Green Solutions programme

The aim is to decongest the city centre which is usually flooded by fruit and vegetable producers on a daily basis.

Yesterday, stakeholders including informal traders, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and project implementers who include the Danish Church Aid (DCA) and Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association visited the fruit and vegetable market place, which is under construction.

During the visit, it was noted that the facility should have been completed in September, but due to modifications the deadline was extended to April next year.

The project coordinator, Mr Shadreck Zhou, said the project is being implemented in five cities countrywide.

"This is a project led by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme. We are the implementing partners. It is a national pilot in five locations, Harare, Mutare, Bulawayo, Chipinge and Gwanda," he said.

"There are different interventions in those locations and the issue is about responding to the disasters that befell the country such as the Covid-19. We need traders to have safe and appropriate working environments."

Mr Zhou said different projects are being implemented depending on the needs of the city with Bulawayo having adopted the decentralisation of its fruit and vegetable market places.

At the moment, Fifth Avenue is heavily congested with illegal vendors and council is struggling to remove them.

"We have been partnering Bulawayo in a number of projects including water, cash voucher systems and Covid-19 response. We thought we can come in and help in that market decentralisation process to decongest the Fifth Avenue market," he said.

"The location was identified following consultations with stakeholders, the traders, the local authority and residents' association. The centrality of the location is important for the purposes of decongesting the city and you also need a place that is accessible from all places."

Mr Zhou said the project is expected to be complete by April next year.

"We have 16 wholesale bays measuring between 20 to 24 square metres and there is a facility where some traders will share a bay. The idea is that retail traders will come and buy their wares and resale," he said.

BCC corporate communications officer Ms Bongiwe Ngwenya said council took an inclusive approach in building of the Nkulumane Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale market to avoid the place turning into a white elephant.

"This structure is part of decentralisation programme for the city of Bulawayo, It is coming from a local development plan where we set up commercial centres at different places after Covid-19," she said.

"Following the lockdown proclamation council had to come up with the resilience food supply system programme during and after Covid-19."

Ms Ngwenya said similar fruit and vegetable markets will be established in Emganwini, and Entumbane and Cowdray Park suburbs.

She said there is no need for informal traders and members of the public to travel to the city centre to buy vegetables when they can be accessed in their localities.

"We have actually tendered for Cowdray Park to allow anyone who wants to come up with a wholesale distribution site. We were looking at strategic places where people may move from their houses to those sites," said Ms Ngwenya.

"Those in eastern suburbs will use wholesale markets in town, but we have some at Bradfield Shopping Centre, Ascot Shopping Centre and other centres where people can buy vegetables."

Ms Ngwenya said stakeholder engagements are being conducted before the operationalisation of the market to address past problems where designated market places were not accepted by players.

Small and Medium Enterprises president Mr Dumisani Ncube said it is important that informal traders embrace the new market place.

He said it also helps in devolving services in the city and should be used by informal players towards formalisation.

Mr Ncube said there is need to organise local fruit and farm producers to get registered.

"Our people are a bit afraid to take up opportunities, but we are saying in most of the sectors, the people who come here are not locals. They come and harvest the money and go back to their respective areas and Bulawayo is left with nothing," he said.

"We are saying as a working group, as leaders of SMEs, we want a culture where we identify local farmers who are going to supply the market so that it can benefit the city."

Source - The Chronicle