The Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Jabulane Mabuza has toured the Mahlanya cold room storage facility that was built by NAMBoard. This is one of 3 facilities built in the three major local informal markets, Mahlanya, Manzini and Mbabane.
During the tour, NAMBoard CEO, Mr Siphephiso Dlamini explained that they continued to work with their stakeholders, the European Union and ESWADE to improve cold chain for vegetables and fruits in the country so as to stabilize prices for consumers, improve vendors return for produce sold which in turn grows vendors the annual turnover and produce bought from farmers .
Dlamini further explained that “through our strategic alliances, NAMBoard invested over E1.5 million to build these three cold room storages and with the assistance of the Eu through the EDF 11 project fitted these with refrigerators.
During this tour it was highlighted that this infrastructure development is crucial for the process of enhancing the value chain, as it improves the refrigeration storage or cold chain management of vegetables and fresh fruits. Improved cold chain management increases the produce shelf life in the market whilst waiting to be sold. This results in minimized wastage, improves consistent supply of produce and stabilise consumer prices. Ultimately, such a development contributes immensely towards fresh produce quality assurance and improved consumer satisfaction.
In response to the installation, the traders confirmed their appreciation that they were now able to buy in bulk to adequately cater for the busy seasons such as the festive season and Easter as they are now able to store the produce for a longer period. Since this investment, they were looking forward to increasing their purchase of produce from local farmers.
The Construction of these cold storage facilities began with the Mahlanya market, which was completed and handed over to the community late last year in a function graced by the Minister for Agriculture and the Ambassador to the EU. Mbabane and Manzini are at completion stage now, and will soon be handed over to the vendors to use.