Farmers' markets beneficial to local economies

16 Jun 2017 17:10pm
By Sawi Hausiku
SAN ANTONIO, 16 JUN (NAMPA) - Establishing farmers’ markets in all regions of Namibia will help to facilitate personal connections and bonds of mutual benefit between farmers, buyers and communities.
The markets will also be beneficial in that they will boost local economies, Nancy Fitch, the manager of a farmers’ market in San Antonio, Texas told Nampa here Friday.
A farmers’ market, also known as a green market, is a place where farmers sell their products directly to consumers.
Namibia has very few farmers’ markets and an increase in such markets would help to create jobs and generate income.
Most of the people in the informal sector concentrate on the wholesale and retail sector and mostly operate in open spaces.
The farmers’ market Nampa visited in San Antonio, also known as the Pearl Market, has been in existence for eight years and is the only certified market in San Antonio.
“The majority of our farmers produce their products within 240 kilometres of San Antonio,” Fitch said.
The market is open from Friday to Sunday.
Fifty-eight per cent of the vendors sell meat, chicken, eggs, vegetables and fruit, while the remaining 42 per cent of vendors sell prepared foods such as pickles, jam and cakes.
Farmers benefit from the market by using the profits they make for their families and to sustain their farms.
Fitch said the produce sold at the market is fresh, as farmers pick it on a Thursday to sell from Friday.
“In grocery stores you do not know how long the produce has been kept in a refrigerator before being displayed on shelves,” she noted.
The farmers are not allowed to use chemicals so their produce is organic.
The market attracts between 5 000 and 8 000 people per weekend.
Some of the customers this agency interviewed said they purchase as much as they can from the community farmers’ market.
The City of San Antonio entered into a sister city relationship with the City of Windhoek last year.
The agreement concerns areas of common interest, such as the promotion of economic cooperation and trade, tourism, cooperation in renewable energy, and exchanges in water management.