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Friday, September 24, 2021

France’s largest fresh produce market pledges to partner with Zambian farmers

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France’s largest fresh produce market Rungis has pledged to work with the Paris Mission to foster partnership cooperation with Lusaka City Council (LCC) and Local Farmers in Zambia.

Zambia’s Ambassador to France Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, undertook an exploratory tour for the Mission to learn and assess if there could be possibilities of partnership cooperation with a similar market that could be modelled like the Rungis market in Zambia.

The market which is managed by a semi-public company called SEMMARIS and the concession-holder for the construction and operation of the National wholesale market of Rungis, is the largest fresh produce market in the world hosting up to 1,200 enterprises.

Ambassador Dr. Kaseba-Sata was amazed to learn how much revenue the Government of France was collecting through this initiative and thus describing the tour as an eye-opener and opportunity for local farmers to secure space in the international Market especially that Agriculture had been prioritized as one of the key sectors in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).

“I see this as an opportunity where people will be able to venture into farming knowing that there is already a market they can sell their produce to and so we need a well-organized entity that could help in moderating the sales of goods. I have seen produce from Eswathini, Ghana and Morocco and I know with the conducive farming conditions in Zambia, our own products can be added to this list because I don’t see why Zambia can not be amongst the African Countries exporting their produce to this market. This is where you could assist us either by imparting knowledge to our farmers on the standards needed to export to this market or work with relevant Authorities in Zambia to come up with a modelled market like this so that our Farmers can equally apply strategies being used in France.” Ambassador Dr Kaseba-Sata said.

And Rungis International Project Manager, Erwan Gambert advised the Ambassador to submit a list of local Farmers ready to commercialize their produce so that his organization could assist distribute to possible partners.

Mr Gambert also advised the Ambassador to facilitate a visit for the Zambia Local Farmers Association representatives so as to familiarize themselves with the International Market and gain the competence that would enable them to manage their business satisfactorily.

In response, Ambassador Dr Kaseba-Sata stressed the need for intense training for the Zambian Local Farmers as well as partnering them with French Farmers where they could begin conducting exchange site visit programmes as what they needed the most was the Technical know-how of increasing productivity per acre.

Mr Gambert further assured the Ambassador that his organization stood ready to assist the Mission with possible channels of communication for the relevant Authorities in charge of Agriculture in France.

Rungis market has a turn over of 9 billion Euros employing over 120,000 people and over 18 million customers. The market sells 2.4 million tones of products per year with a self-contained 34 Mega Watts power plant produced from its own waste (biomass).

The heating and electricity generated from biomass are distributed to the neighbouring entities, ORLY International airport inclusive. The set up of Rungies has managed to change the mindset of people who were dependant on large self-service shops because of the levels of hygiene and quality of productivity which are exceptional.

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Source – LusakaTimes

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