MEGA envisages the creation of a modern fresh produce market, the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market (MIFPM), in Mbombela. This will improve food security, create jobs, and develop the nutrition of under-privileged communities.
By linking small-scale black farmers with international, regional and local buyers, MEGA will also help to drive economic growth at provincial and national levels.
To this end, MEGA is planning to establish local agri-hubs (under the management of secondary co-operatives) to which small-scale farmers in primary cooperatives can supply produce for further distribution. In this way the MIFPM will provide farmers with exposure to a much wider regional, national and potentially international market.
The market will offer:
- Open trading halls for fruit and vegetables
- A meat, fish and flower market
- Complimentary cold storage, ripening facilities and pallet handling
- Processing facilities
- An export hall
- Bulk breaking facilities for retail outlets
- Links with statutory organisations like Customs and EuroGap
- Logistics enterprises
- Shared collation and packhouse facilities for SMMEs
- Commercial services including banks and restaurants
- A food bank for NGOs
Because the consuming public lies outside the borders of the province, there is an accompanying need for logistics, cold storage facilities and distribution planning.
Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (DARDLEA) requires that the MIFPM comply with international best practices in food safety, traceability, infrastructure, cold chain and ripening.