Agri View: Food Distribution

Dan Agri View, General

Food distribution warehouse with sacks and bags
Everett Griner talks about problems with food distribution in today’s Agri View.

Food Distribution

From: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Major Food Supply and Distribution Problems

Urban Market Facilities and Management

Public markets have burned down throughout the world over the last few years because of inadequate structures and maintenance, poor management, fire-hazard practices, … or to force traders into new markets. These blows to the local economy have important financial implications for small traders and entrepreneurs as well as consumers.

Existing market spaces and facilities are often insufficient in developing countries and countries in transition. Consequently, many food traders occupy roads around markets.

Urban markets are usually seen as a source of revenue to local town coffers, but those funds are often not reinvested in infrastructure maintenance and better services. This leads to traders feeling that market taxes are not justified and to unrest when rates are increased.

foodCold-storage facilities are usually insufficient and rent is often high. The few cold-storage rooms built by market managers are often inefficient, mostly because of inappropriate design, or do not work at all, for lack of proper maintenance. Perishable food products, therefore, deteriorate rapidly.

Public markets lack professional management and its continuity. Market authorities have insufficient skilled personnel and are unable to enforce regulations. Consequently, trading in public markets becomes more difficult and, therefore, costly.

Food Retailing

Middle and high-income consumers shop at supermarkets while low-income consumers, who can spend as much as 80 percent of their income on food, go to local shops, to market places near their homes or buy from street vendors.

Public retail markets have not expanded rapidly enough in newly urbanised areas and existing markets have been unable to accommodate the increasing number of retailers.

Lack of space or new market opportunities in satellite city districts are thus the cause of spontaneous markets which fill an important gap in the distribution chain. However, their unplanned nature may create traffic, health and environmental problems.

Read more.

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