Fresh produce market management
The Mt Hagen Market is the largest fresh produce market in PNG. The Australian Government supported the redevelopment of market infrastructure at Mt Hagen in 2006 in what was hailed as a highly successful development activity. Today, the Mt Hagen market remains a preferred place to buy and sell and continues to generate significant benefits to Highlands’ communities, despite generally poor service delivery by market management. Lessons have been learned from the Mt Hagen market redevelopment that can inform future market developments in PNG.
In 2013, UniQuest conducted a study to assess the impact of the redevelopment that was supported by the Australia – PNG Incentive Fund in 2006, specifically examining:
- the characteristics and sustainability of high-quality market management in PNG;
- impact of the market redevelopment on agricultural models in Mt Hagen and Western Highlands Province;
- improvements in collaboration between agricultural NGO/organisations as a result of the market; and
- impact of the market redevelopment on urban women and street youths.
The study provided key recommendations to the Incentive Fund’s Management Group to assist in decision-making and planning for assessing future market development proposals, including:
- PNG government should increase support to local governments to manage markets, with clear policies on jurisdiction and responsibilities
- donors should work with market proponents to build in governance structures through the appropriate constitution of market boards that represent stakeholders and can withstand takeover by self-interested parties
- separate ownership of market assets from management of market assets to improve the accountability of those delivering services at through the market
- during the planning phase donors should work with market proponents to set clear policies and processes on human resources, financial and operations management, strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, public awareness systems, regulation of the market; and training and supervision of market staff
- provide necessary training and education to farmers, market traders, and market staff in improved production and marketing of local fresh produce and handicrafts
- convene market forums to identify issues constraining delivery of services through the market and to foster collaboration between NGOs and agricultural organisations and the market
- assist urban women, young women and street youths to form self-help groups or associations to facilitate training, awareness-raising and advocacy.