Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Traditional market vs. modern market

Another mall, another conflict. The Indonesian Association of Traditional Market Traders (APPSI) is protesting the plan to develop a new Koja Trade Mall (a "modern" market) in North Jakarta, right next to a still thriving Koja "traditional" market (Pasar Koja).

Sumardiyanto, the association's head, said that Pasar Koja currently acommodates some 2,000 traders, the biggest number of traders compared to other 15 traditional markets in Jakarta. The daily turnover is Rp 600,000 ($66) a day a trader, totalling to Rp 1.2 billion a day. Quite significant.

Jakarta Regulation No. 2/2002 specified that modern markets as large as 2,000 to 4,000 sqm has to locate at least 2 km away from traditional markets. Modern markets larger than 4,000 sqm at least 2.5 km away. Koja Trade Mall will be as large as 28,000 sqm.

Apparently the school community in the area is also opposed to the mall. Meanwhile, President SBY some time ago asked that traditional markets not be let to free competition with the burgeoning "hypermarkets".

I feel what the traditional market traders are fighting for. For me the problem is not about "traditional" or "modern", but about the number of economic actors involved in each side of the tension. Traditional markets, clearly, employ more people and acommodate more & more diverse shareholders than modern markets.

But really, is protection the more appropriate and longer term solution to this? I believe capacity building and some kind of subsidy (not simply in the form of physical improvement of the market) are better answers. For example,
  • Perhaps somone should build the capacity of traditional traders to apply better, more modern management so that traditional markets are not synonym to dirty, smelly places?
  • Or perhaps somone should facilitate some kind of capital & business consolidation among the traditional traders to increase their pecuniary advantage against the likes of Carrefour, so that traditional markets are equally able to buy at large scale and sell at lower prices?

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  1. 3 post in a row...

    Yeah... last time i went to traditional market is for my campus assignment...
    I cant remember last time i went there for "truly" shopping ;>

    Modern market give you the same price (even lower),more comfortable place, and open until night (some traditional market open only in the morning)... Why should I go to the traditional market?

    Traditional market that still survive, I think, those who have special commodity... like bird market in Ngasem or market that sell unique/antique things, something you can't find in another place.

    For those traditional market that sell "ordinary" things, especially in urban area... I got pesimistic. If only traditional market can't give same services like modern market. If isnt, traditional market should have another "positive point" that can attract people to come.

    Who'll bring the positive point? That "someone"? But who' someone anyway :p

  2. Nien, you're right on the money. I fear that blindly protecting traditional markets is just an attempt to prolong the inevitable. What should be protected is the many traders who make a living from traditional markets, not the markets itself. And the better way to protect them is maybe to help build their capacity so that their market is no less "modern" than Carrefour.

    Who is "someone"? Hmm.. who is that "someone" anyway? :)

  3. Hi Muli, just come accross your blog here, congrats for a great blog.
    We are currently working on a Modern Market in Jakarta Garden City, hope we will be able to address some of the issues you brought up in this blog..
    We'll keep you updated!

  4. hi..
    i'm Haya. I'm a student at ITS-Surabaya. now on, i'm working with my final year task. and this project is about designing the "new" traditional market. my grand design is making an integrated market with it's own water treatment plant, and a composter. and it has national standard of hygiene, health and safety. but all the commodities and all the seller are all "traditional", i mean...there's still bargain process, fresh commodities and such.
    if Muli has informations to help me, i'll be very thankful..
    contact me at : haya_argadila@yahoo.com

    thank you,
    best regards.

  5. Hi all, thanks for posting this issue. At the moment, we are community in Surabaya who concern on traditional market are working together to develop a pilot project, to 'awake' sleeping giant 'integrated traditional AND modern market kapas krampung mall". these markets have been struggling and almost dying for four years. we are working together now hand in hand including various stakeholders to make this project possible. This is a pilot project of community, self funded, so your inputs, helps in any form (time, etc) will be helpful.
    Please contact me if you want to be a volunteer or want to be involved in this project: