Lang Ha Market in Hanoi has seen increased business since its management was replaced by a trading cooperative, says head of the market management board Nguyen Van Hien.
“The biggest change now sees stalls in the market re-arranged in good order, making it more convenient for traders and consumers alike,” said Hien.
Lam Thi Nhu, a housewife who goes to the market every day, said, “I find it easier to find and buy everything. The fish and chicken counters are now located at the end of the market, which has improved appearance and hygiene.”
Nhu added that the market had a free-of-charge parking lot so people can go to the market on foot and browse at leisure.
A shopkeeper in Lang Ha Market, Pham Thi Thanh Huong, said, “Lang Ha Market is on a main road so we get lots of passers-by.”
All of the stores in the market have long-term contracts and have done well over the past nine years. The market management now includes 50 workers on an income of 3.5 million VND (180 USD) a month each.
“At present, as many as 34 cooperatives are involved in managing markets in the city’s suburban areas and host 6,000 trading households,” said Ho Quoc Khanh, manager of the Trading Management Division under the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.
However, this form of market management – a simple and small organisation – lacked financial capacity, to make any improvements, Khanh said.
Most markets managed by cooperatives remain small in size, so the cooperatives can only focus on management and fail to pay attention to developing services and regulating prices.
To develop this management mode among co-operatives, the Government should have incentive policies to encourage co-operatives to re-build markets, especially in rural areas, Khanh said.
Tax revenue raised through markets should be partially spent on upgrading market infrastructure. The bank sector should let co-operatives borrow money at preferential interest rates.
People’s Committees should exempt small markets in suburban districts from rent for five years, Khanh said.
Cooperatives needed more attention from relevant bodies, especially the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said Doan Van Toan, deputy head of the Board of Policy and Development under the Vietnam Cooperatives Union.
“The Department of Industry and Trade should propose to the city specific plans to support cooperatives in managing and trading, and investing in upgrading markets, especially in rural areas,” Toan said.