New Chairman Urges Greater Understanding of Sector

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May 8, 2008

The World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) held Board elections during its recent conference in Mexico City which saw Graham Wallace, Head of Glasgow Markets in the UK become Chairman, and Torben Flinch, Managing Director of Copenhagen Markets in Denmark become Vice Chairperson. Seven Directors were also elected (or re-elected) from the USA, Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Mexico. Existing Board members with mandates expiring in 2009 include market representatives from China, Spain, and the Czech Republic. Mr Wallace succeeded Donald Darnall, Executive Director of Maryland Food Centre Authority in Baltimore, USA as WUWM Chairman. In his opening speech at the Mexico Conference, Wallace noted that one of the biggest problems facing the sector was that the full range of benefits that wholesale and retail markets provide and achieve for the societies in which they operate were not well understood outside the sector. "Very few people not directly involved in markets really understand either the scale of the social and economic contributions made by markets to the towns, cities and regions within which they are situated, or their effectiveness and efficiency in terms of providing alternatives routes of supply, and opportunities for competition and choice for growers, producers, and customers of the markets" he noted. Wallace commented that it was essential WUWM "continue to find new routes towards increasing recognition and awareness amongst the decision makers and politicians at all levels. I believe the tool required to achieve this is knowledge" he said. The need for operators and tenants to be working together was emphasised with Wallace stating that the next stage in this development of cooperative working within the food supply chain "must be for market operators and traders to forge stronger links and bonds with our customers – whether they be retailers, processors, caterers, other SMEs or even the shopping members of the public." The new WUWM Chairman commented that efforts must be continued to maintain and raise standards in the wholesale and retail sector to ensure that increasingly stringent regulations and customer demands are met and that the exchange of best practice and knowledge takes place. WUWM, he argued, must also ensure that "benefits in terms of design standards, operational standards as well as exploring and offering advice on structures of ownership/management and funding opportunities are continued." During the Mexico Conference WUWM ratified several new memberships from countries as wide ranging as Jordan, South Korea, the UK, China and France, bringing the total number of countries currently represented within the Union to 40. Additionally, WUWM wholesale market awards were officially launched with submissions opened for three categories in 2008 including: Community Support, Market Innovation, and Environmental Sustainability. The winners of each category will be announced during the 26th WUWM Congress Opening Dinner which is to be held at the Copenhagen Town Hall on Wednesday 1 October 2008. Further information on these awards is available on the WUWM website. Information on the WUWM 26th Congress website is also available at: www.wuwmcongresscopenhagen.dk Due to the increasing number of retail markets affiliated to the Union, a first WUWM Retail Conference will be held in Hamburg, Germany from 12-13 June entitled: "European Retail Markets Driving Communities". This event aims to discuss various methods of strengthening and developing retail (covered, street and open-air) markets throughout Europe. The conference themes will discuss current EC legislation and lobbying activities, effective community involvement in market (re)development, efficiency in market promotions, and technical innovations in market equipment and practices. Four technical visits will also be offered. Further information is available at: www.wuwmretailconference.org Caption: Graham Wallace, Glasgow Markets succeeded Donald Darnall, Maryland Food Centre Authority (pictured left) as WUWM Chairman on 25 April 2008.