Tainan food market going green to serve as leisure destination
Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) When it comes to traditional markets in Taiwan, it is often the noise and poor sanitation that appear in people's minds, but the Tainan government is now aiming to turn its largest wholesale food market into a splendid leisure landmark where the public can shop in a modern facility while embracing nature at the same time.
The new Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market, expected to open in September this year, will feature an open structure with a terraced green roof accessible from its eastern corner, where terraces take shoppers down to ground level, according to the city's agriculture bureau.
The terraces above the market will also house the various crops from the area -- pineapples, rice, roses and tea -- according to one of the market's designers, Dutch architectural firm MVRDV.
In addition, it will house benches and picnic tables under the roof, giving the market the appearance of rolling green hills and a destination for recreation, the company said.
MVRDV said it hopes that the market will symbolize the beauty of rural Tainan.
"(The market) is completely functional and caters to auctioning, selling and buying goods, but its terraced roof with its collection of growing products will allow visitors to take in the landscape while escaping from the bustle below," said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas.
According to bureau officials, the new market will replace the existing one in Xinhua District, which has been the southern Taiwan city's largest agricultural trade hub since it integrated four other smaller markets in neighboring districts in 2012.
However, the current facility has become outdated and unable to accommodate increasing trade volume, while it has also created environmental problems, as it is at the center of a densely populated residential area, officials said.
It is hoped that the new market, conveniently located near Freeway No. 3, could increase the current trading volume of 50,000-60,000 metric tons per year to over 80,000 metric tons, they said.
The increased space and more modern facilities could make it easier for vendors to adopt auctioning rather than bargaining, which is more commonly seen in traditional markets and which curbs profitability, the officials explained.
Tainan enjoys rich agricultural output value of more than NT$60 billion (US$2.15 billion) per year, the largest among the country's six special municipalities.
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