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Wholesale marketing systems for fruit, vegetables and other fresh foodstuffs, such as livestock and fish, are often inadequate. They neither maximize benefits to producers, nor to consumers. Experience demonstrates that there are substantial benefits to be gained from giving positive encouragement to the development of more professional approaches to the provision of marketing infrastructure where wholesalers can purchase produce from large numbers of assembled farmers, or their agents, and in turn sell their purchases to retailers.

Governments can address the problem of inadequate infrastructure by undertaking development programmes which reorganize institutional marketing arrangements, create facilities at new sites or improve existing services. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has over a number of years been involved with providing technical assistance to governments to develop improved marketing organizations.

There is a tendency that these improvement programmes become too elaborate and costly, therefore jeopardizing their financial and economic viability The cause of this problem is mainly the poor definition of project objectives and the preparation of an inadequate development brief. Problems also arise because of a lack of communication between the various parties involved with development. I he programmes, of necessity, are initiated by one group of professionals, typically agricultural economists and planners, but implemented by a group of construction oriented professionals, such as architects and engineers. There is substantial background technical literature on the subject of wholesale market design, but very little guidance is available, in a concise and comprehensive form, directly oriented to the needs of such administrators and planners, so enabling them to carry on a constructive dialogue with design professionals.

This manual has been compiled to fill this gap and to provide a systematic methodology based on the sequence of steps normally adopted in the development process The manual should be of practical value, both to senior professionals and to technicians, in undertaking marketing and engineering surveys, in the preparation of feasibility studies and master plans, and in formulating proposals for the provision of physical facilities. Such studies may be directly undertaken by government agencies or marketing authorities or by consultants appointed to assist them. The
manual also provides guidance on the monitoring of market improvement studies and the preparation of appropriate terms of reference that can be used for briefing consultants.

Although the manual is not directly involved with subjects such as market institutions, management, operations and regulation these issues are broadly outlined as they have a significant impact on the physical environment. No development programme should be initiated without investigating these subjects. Other matters covered in the manual include consumer demand projections, implementation issues, financial and economic feasibility, and the justification for the provision of specialized facilities, such as cold storage.

The manual partly replaces the previous guide prepared by FAO (H.J.Mittendorf, 1976. Planning of urban wholesale markets for perishable food). As a background to this manual and for a comprehensive view of the whole subject of marketing improvement the FAO Economic and Social Development Series Bulletin No. 37 :l C. Abbott, 1986. Marketing improvement in the developing world) should be consulted.

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