On Wednesday morning, when it became clear that the Tshwane municipal fresh produce market would have to temporarily close due to a positive Covid-19 case, Freshlinq decided to move ahead with the establishment of a trading facility in Midrand.
Right: SJ Käber of RSA Market Agents receiving several pallets of ZZ2's tomatoes at the brand-new Midrand fresh produce market
Two days later a brand-new fresh produce trading facility opened its doors and in the absence of the Tshwane market, it was a busy site. Tshwane has since re-opened, but the underlying reasons for establishing a privately-managed fresh produce trade facility remain.
“We’ve had a lot of success with our other Freshlinq markets and we believe that this success is due in part to the way that our facilities are maintained to ensure their cleanliness,” says Theo Botha, managing director of Freshlinq.
“When the lockdown started, we realised we’d have to work on a contingency plan should any of the municipal markets close – as now happened with Tshwane. It re-opened on Saturday, but it could conceivably be forced to close again.”
Covid-19 cases are strongly rising in Gauteng at the moment.
The 4,200 m2 facility in Midrand (photos supplied by RSA Agents)
Freshlinq is a private fresh produce market authority and trading software developer. A number of South Africa's dominant producers like ZZ2, Dutoits, Wildeklawer, Al3 Boerdery and Rugani have a stake in the company, but there is no exclusivity to the markets run by Freshlinq.
“The risk of markets closing is a source of huge concern not only for our shareholders and producers but also for market buyers. We see our role in the industry as a supporter of the fresh produce value chain and our priority remains to ensure that trades can take place safely,” Theo says.
The Midrand trading facility carries most types of produce with the exception of bananas because there aren’t the requisite cooling and ripening facilities yet. Docking stations for trucks will also be added in the near future. Later this week they hope to be able to facilitate cash transactions on the premises.
Freshlinq digital trading platform
The trading facility runs on the software trading platform that was developed by Freshlinq itself, a system that allows producers and buyers to register on the Freshlinq platform from anywhere.
RSA Market Agents, who are currently the only market agent trading at the market, are then able to facilitate trade through the traditional agency model via the online platform. A producer receives trading statistics drawn from all Freshlinq markets in a single document, which facilitates a comparison between the markets.
The Midrand fresh produce market currently offers all commodities except for bananas
Freshlinq is the market authority at four other private fresh produce markets namely Freshlinq Polokwane and Freshlinq Mooketsi in Limpopo Province, Freshlinq Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and Freshlinq Vaal in Vanderbijlpark.