From the news desk

Competition Commission probes price-fixing in fresh produce markets

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The Competition Commission is conducting a search and seizure operation at the premises of nine fresh produce markets agents in Johannesburg and Pretoria over alleged price-fixing.

The agents are suspected of being involved in a cartel and in contravention of the Competition Act. They are a link between farmers and buyers of freshly produced fruits and vegetables.

It is alleged that the agents are involved in unlawful coordinated activities aimed at undercutting the prices charged by smaller companies.

They allegedly charge way below the market price for certain agreed periods of a trading day.

“The allegation is that they squeeze out small farmers in the morning by reducing the prices very sharply until stock of the small farmers is depleted only to raise the prices very sharply again in the late morning when they have to sell to the big retailers and that has got a knock-on effect on the prices of these fresh produce products in the relevant areas,” said the commission Spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

[Source: SABC News]
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