The Ministry of Finance’s Monitoring and Consumer Affairs organised a training session for 30 participants from Port Vila Central Market yesterday.

The focus of the training was to educate farmers operating in municipality markets around Port Vila on how to effectively use scales in their sales. This initiative is set to launch a market vendor scale system at the end of this month. The participants were split into two groups, with the first 30 receiving their training yesterday and the remaining participants scheduled for today.

According to Serge Salwai, an officer in the office of Monitoring and Consumer Affairs and the training coordinator, the journey to bring this initiative to life has been a long one, involving collaborative efforts from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Trade, and other departments.

Together, they developed a price list for market vendors to utilise. The training covered the formula for calculating the price of 1 kilogram of food and provided guidance on effectively using scales. Mr. Salwai emphasised the importance of explaining calculations to the participants and highlighted the significance of delivering excellent customer service when using scales for selling products.

“The prices frequently drop to a sum of numbers that require further calculations to round out the figures, thus it is important to explain how to calculate to the participants,” Mr. Salwai said. “We also train the participants on the customer service which they will provide when using the scale to sell their products on the market.”

The decision to introduce scales for market vendors was made prior to the increase in minimum wages and has been a long-standing plan for Monitoring and Consumer Affairs and the Municipality. Once the system launches at the end of the month, it will be closely monitored by the responsible authorities.

Additionally, in August, the Price Control Unit will visit other market sellers, including those in Santo, to expand the program further. Mr. Salwai acknowledged that while some market sellers still have reservations, those who have agreed to participate will receive training and launch the program. He expressed confidence that others will gradually change their minds and join later.

Regarding the women who remain opposed to the effort, Mr. Salwai stated that the municipal council will make the final decision on whether they can still use the market vendors. “The municipal council will make the choice because they will use the list to execute the municipal area after receiving it during the launch, and the Municipality will impose repercussions on those who do not comply,” he explained.

Paul Simpolo, a farmer from North Efate who attended the training, praised the new initiative, recognising its potential to revolutionise their marketing system. He expressed his enthusiasm for transitioning from selling food in baskets to using scales. “We no longer sell food in baskets; instead, we scale our prices,” Mr. Simpolo said.

He further explained that scaling food prices would lead to higher profits compared to the basket selling method. He also addressed the issue of leftovers and customer complaints about unfair food storage with the basket system. With the scale system, customers can purchase a variety of foods to meet their kitchen needs at a lower cost.

Jannette Wallace, head of the Silae Vanua Market vendor’s association on Efate Island, responsible for overseeing marketing in Port Vila town, shared her perspective. She mentioned that they have been using eye scales to sell their goods but acknowledged that there have been instances of declining sales. “This training will enable us to understand our cost, which includes transportation, lunch, and other needs, allowing us to set our products and pricing that will satisfy the customers as well as ourselves,” she explained.

The training session aims to equip market vendors with the necessary skills to effectively implement the scale system, enhance sales, and improve customer satisfaction.


SOURCE: Vanuatu Daily Post