Traditional markets need to be nurtured

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 11:57

Women buy vegetables at Chau Long traditional market in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

In an effort to overcome current shortcomings and improve the efficiency of traditional markets, Ha Noi will review and adjust the market network in tandem with infrastructure planning.

Ha Noi has many modern supermarkets but many people still shop at traditional markets for their cultural value, out of habit and as they are priced well for lower-income people.

People in rural areas, meanwhile, are unfamiliar with supermarkets.

Traditional markets, for them, are not just a place to purchase necessities but also a place to sell products.

According to the Ha Noi Department of Industry and Trade, the city built 43 new markets, rebuilt 16 and about 95 others were upgraded from 2011-16, with total investment of more than VND3 trillion (US$133 million).

However, Le Hong Phong, the department’s director said that most of the built markets in this period were in inner-city areas while some districts and new urban areas in the city still don’t have traditional markets due to a lack of funds.

Individuals and enterprises are not interested in building and upgrading this market model as the system of legal documents issued by central agencies related to markets have many inadequacies in building and managing traditional markets, Phong said.

Some departments do not have any guidance related to construction investment, mechanisms and policies to encourage enterprises and co-operatives to invest in building, trading and managing markets, he said.

It also caused difficulties for People’s committees in districts to approve projects.

A survey from the Economic and Budget Affairs Department, Ha Noi People’s Council showed inefficiency at some of the city’s markets.

Many traditional markets have been in place for a long time but do not operate efficiently.

Many of them have become dilapidated and are below fire prevention, food safety and hygiene standards.

Nga Tu So, the 8,000sq.m market located between Dong Da and Thanh Xuan districts, with nearly 800 stores, has faced many problems in trading due to infrastructure degradation, leading to less customers.

Traders have moved their business from the market, wasting land and finances.

Some trade centres such as Mo, Cua Nam and Hang Da have a combined model of traditional and modern markets but still operate inefficiently.

To attract investment from individuals and enterprises in building markets, director Phong has petitioned the city People’s Committee and Government to devise more policies to support localities, investors and traders.

According to experts, the maintenance and development of traditional markets is necessary, but any development plan requires a feasibility study.

The city must identify what type of market will serve which demographic group, as well as the buying power each group possesses, avoiding a situation where markets are unoccupied while many traders rush to streets to set up temporary markets, they said.

Pham Thi Thanh Mai, head of the Economic and Budget Affairs Department has proposed Ha Noi People’s Committee use the State budget for investment, upgrading and exploitation of markets through public-private partnerships. — VNS

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