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Competition Commission Probes Fresh Produce Chain for Fairness Violations

The Competition Commission is conducting a second round of public hearings in its Fresh Produce Market Inquiry, focusing on the value chain and potential anti-competitive practices. The investigation aims to promote fairness and growth for small businesses and consumers in the fresh produce market.

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Israel Ojoko
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Competition Commission's Fresh Produce Market Inquiry: Ensuring Fairness and Fostering Growth

Competition Commission Probes Fresh Produce Chain for Fairness Violations

In a bid to ensure fair competition and foster growth in the fresh produce market, the Competition Commission is deep into its second round of public hearings. Established last year, the Fresh Produce Market Inquiry is meticulously examining the value chain, particularly focusing on fruit and vegetables. The Commission's objective is to ascertain whether any features within the value chain might be hampering competition, potentially impacting small businesses and consumers alike.

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At the heart of the inquiry lies the intricate fresh produce value chain. From farmers to distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, each actor plays a crucial role in delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to consumers. The investigation seeks to uncover any anti-competitive practices that might be prevalent, ultimately affecting market outcomes and prices.

Sipho Ngwema, a representative from the Competition Commission, recently sat down with eNCA to discuss the inquiry's importance. He explained the Commission's intention to delve into the mechanisms of the market and shed light on potential issues that might hinder a level playing field for all participants.

The Role of Small Businesses

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Small businesses, often the backbone of local economies, stand to benefit significantly from the inquiry's findings. As some of the most vulnerable actors in the fresh produce market, they are likely to be heavily impacted by any anti-competitive practices. By addressing these concerns, the Competition Commission aims to create an environment that encourages small businesses to thrive.

"Small businesses are vital to our economy, and we want to ensure they have the opportunity to compete fairly," said Ngwema. "This inquiry will help us identify any barriers to entry or expansion and work towards removing them."

The Fresh Produce Market Inquiry is expected to take 18 months to complete, with details on the administrative phases available on the Commission's website. As the public hearings continue, the Competition Commission remains committed to gathering comprehensive input to inform its final report.

Ultimately, the inquiry's findings will serve as a roadmap for improving the competitiveness of the industry. By addressing any anti-competitive practices, the Commission aims to create a more equitable market that benefits consumers and smaller participants alike.

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