The World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) is a non-profit association that aims to promote the international exchange of information on wholesale and retail markets, with a view to improving their construction, organisation and management. The WUWM was founded in 1956 and today has more than 240 markets worldwide. AgroTypos had an interview with the President of the WUWM, Mr. Manuel Estrada, who talked about the way of operation, the values, the goals, and the largest markets of the Union.
Could you please describe us the operation mode of the WUWM?
Analogically to the food wholesale markets in Greece, Spain, and countries all around the World, the aim of the markets associated to WUWM is not the exchange of food products but the exchange of knowledge, experience and best practice on management of the food logistic centers and wholesale markets. With this aim, WUWM was established in 1956 and nowadays counts over 240 markets worldwide.
To this end, WUWM works on different directions. The main activities are the two yearly Conferences, which take place one in spring, the other in autumn, in the city of any of our wholesale market members. In 2015, the two Conferences will be held in Budapest (Hungary) and Campinas (São Paolo State, Brazil). Besides that, we have constituted regional working groups (European, Asia-Pacific, Americas) to strengthen closer collaboration of markets from countries sharing common challenges or problems. Finally, in view of the close relation of retail markets and retail trade with wholesale markets, WUWM opened a decade ago to retail markets, a field of knowledge and cooperation extremely interesting for city authorities and governments.
What are the criteria for your cooperation with growers suppliers and what are the daily quantities being handled in Union?
Within the premises of many “Food Complexes” (as we use to denominate the combination of the wholesale markets and the logistic and complementary services gathered in the same space), it is often to find specific “farmer markets”. These markets have its particular timetables and rules, and are meant to those growers of the proximity, which may offer season products (often of very high quality) to retailers, catering, horeca and also to wholesalers established within the “Food Unit”. The most sophisticated and large of these “farmer markets” is the one in “Merca-Valencia”, which is at the same time a market with a long tradition of several centuries.
Which is the largest Wholesale Market of the Union and why?
The largest markets of the world, which are also WUWM members, are the Central Wholesale Market of Mexico DF and the Central Wholesale Market of Beijing, due, of course to the huge population they serve, of nearly 30 million persons living in the catchment area of both markets. Also the largest wholesale markets of Europe are in WUWM, as it is the case of Rungis-Paris, Mercamadrid, Mercabarna, Rome, Athens, Hamburg, etc. Other remarkable markets by the size of produce traded are the ones of Anatolia (devoted mainly to tomatoes), or Santiago de Chile. However, I would like to point out that the biggest market not always means the best market. Wholesale markets managements have to provide certain services to the private wholesalers and retailers, and the excellence in the management do not depend on the volume traded in the markets. Not only cleaning and security, but also networking with the trader to improve quality, marketing brands, new export markets, telecommunication services, logistic facilities, etc. are required.