Traditional market renovation still face challenges

October, 30/2018 - 09:00

Hà Nội’s Long Biên District began a project to renovate old traditional markets to be more modern in 2016, but only 13 of the 20 existing markets have been upgraded so far.

Part of Đồng Xuân-Bắc Qua Market in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Đoàn Tùng
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s Long Biên District began a project to renovate old traditional markets to be more modern in 2016, but only 13 of the 20 existing markets have been upgraded so far.

The project, initiated by municipal authorities, aims to build or renovate traditional markets across the city into trading centres to meet consumers’ demand as well as hygiene and safety standards.

However, Long Biên, like many other districts, is facing many difficulties in the transition.

Nguyễn Thế Trọng, who manages four markets in Long Biên District’s Ngọc Lâm Ward, told Thời báo Kinh tế Việt Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) newspaper that a traditional market needed to meet at least 10 criteria to be recognised as modern and civilised market.

These criteria include infrastructure conditions, fire safety, food safety and hygiene, and public order, he said.

After two years of implementation, 13 out of 20 traditional markets in the district were recognised as modern and civilised, according to Trọng.

The remaining markets were still trying to meet requirements, showing that reforming traditional markets was not simple, he said.

Some criteria required time and efforts of both local authorities and traders such as protecting consumers’ interests and traditional cultures, he said.

A representative from Tây Hồ District’s Economic Office told the newspaper that infrastructure development was the biggest challenge.

Many markets face infrastructure degradation, requiring time and investment to upgrade, he said.

Meanwhile, many traditional markets have become dilapidated and are below fire prevention, food safety and hygiene standards.

One of biggest traditional wholesale markets in Hoàng Mai District, which supplies hundreds of tonnes of vegetables and fruits and 30 tonnes of meat products and seafood each day, is struggling to be recognised as civilised market.

Sanitation conditions at the market are very poor with wastewater stagnant on the floor. Meanwhile, many traders display their products on nylon canvas which lies on the floor, failing to meet food safety and hygiene requirements.

In addition, many markets already recognised as meeting standards have started to retrograde.

Ngã Tư Sở, the 8,000sq.m market located between Đống Đa and Thanh Xuân districts, with nearly 800 stores, has faced many problems in trading due to infrastructure degradation, leading to a fewer customers coming.

Deputy Director of the Hà Nội Department of Industry and Trade Trần Thị Phương Lan warned that many traditional markets in the city were on “red” alert, meaning they failed to meet requirements, particularly in fire safety.

Hà Nội has 454 markets but only 22.4 per cent of them have proper infrastructure and nearly 30 per cent are makeshift.

She suggested municipal authorities to earmark appropriate funds from the city’s budget to build new markets or upgrade traditional ones and call for investment from different social resources in renovating markets and review land funds, with priority given to the construction of markets.

Market management efficiency also needs to be improved to ensure sustainable and effective operation of markets, according to Lan. — VNS