RIYADH — The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has issued guidelines to regulate the operation of public benefit markets and to monitor the work of service providers.

The new guide contains 19 articles pertaining to all aspects of the smooth operation of public benefit markets. According to the guidelines, one of the requirements for establishing a new market in a city or governorate where there is an existing market is that the new market must have a comparative advantage over the existing market, and that the population in the area must be proportionate to the number of markets desired to establish in the city. Another requirement is that the absorptive capacity of the existing market is insufficient to accommodate all activities.

The guide confirmed that the Agricultural Law stipulates the necessity of using electronic payment when buying and selling within public benefit markets, and comply with the Saudization rules in line with the government regulations. It is also required to obtain a license from the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing.

The guidelines stipulate that when establishing new livestock markets, it must be taken into account that they are outside the urban area and when the market conforms to the previous standards, it is submitted to the ministry to decide on the application, attaching with it an aerial photograph showing the location of the new market.

The guide contains requirements for holding seasonal markets and auctions. These include the presence of an entity that organizes the market or auction and bears all financial and organizational burdens, and it does not affect the movement and activity of the public goods market in the region. There will be registration for all market stakeholders such as wholesalers, retailers, distributors, service providers, cooperative societies, and transporters.

The competent authority shall determine the appropriate working days and hours for each market in the cities, governorates and their affiliated centers on regular and seasonal days such as Ramadan and Hajj. A signboard shall also be placed clearly at the entrances to the market indicating the days and hours of operation, as well as on the days of the seasons, specifying the name of the season and its start and end dates.

Recording the prices of agricultural products in the main markets in Saudi Arabia shall be made through approved channels and platforms through the price controller assigned by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and its branches and offices. The investor is obligated to enter prices and quantity data through approved channels and platforms.

The guide also clarifies what is related to biosecurity, the preservation of public health, and the safety of the agricultural sector’s wealth. The operating company or investor of the market shall carry out cleaning, maintenance, and security guarding of the market facilities.

The guidelines obligate all market stakeholders to place waste in designated places. Periodic cleaning and sterilization are required with regard to waste containers and places exposed to pollution. If the market is closed, air curtains will be placed at the entrances. Insects, rodents, and stray animals shall be controlled using mechanical and chemical methods, provided that they do not affect the safety of food products.

According to the guidelines, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture would issue licenses for shops, barns and stalls, as well as permits for service providers and market workers affiliated with shops, firms and companies licensed to work in the market. Regarding the transport of agricultural products, the guide emphasized the necessity of adhering to the quality and safety of agricultural products, and vehicle owners who do not adhere to the rules will be slapped with fines. It also stressed the need to ensure the entry of only healthy agricultural products, and destroy agricultural products that are unfit for human consumption.

The ministry would undertake periodic oversight of all stores, sheds, and barns on a daily basis. The ministry is responsible for reporting visits and violations through approved channels. As per the guidelines, confiscated materials that are not fit for human consumption shall be destroyed.

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