A Colombian delegation visited our city this week. The visit was part of an international project to exchange experiences in municipal market management.
The delegation, which met with the Barcelona Municipal Markets Institute (the IMMB) on several occasions, was made up of Adriana Sampedro, manager at of the Mayor's Office of the Centre of Medellín; Luz Estella Giraldo, Head of Public Space of the Secretariat of State at Medellín Mayor's Office; Cristian Zuluaga, from the Secretariat of Social Development at Medellín Mayor's Office; Ángela María Calle, Advisor to Envigado Mayor's Office (Antioquia) and Paula Andrea Taborda, Secretary of Economic Development at Envigado Mayor's Office.
They were met by Genís Arnàs, Director of the IMMB Markets Service; Xavier Trull, Director of Llibertat Market, and Jordi Cortés, International Cooperation Specialist at Barcelona City Council, and attended several business meetings with IMMB Manager, Jordi Torrades, and his team of executives. The purpose of these meetings was to exchange experiences on the organisation and operation of Barcelona's markets, on what is done within its markets network and how it is managed, from day-to-day operations to investment, so that the Colombian delegation may apply these practices to their own circumstances.
A successful model
This exchange stands as proof that the Barcelona model can be successfully applied within a very different economic, political and social context. The Colombian delegation were particularly interested in the relations maintained between vendors and the City Council, the recognition of traders' associations, waste management and the underground logistics of the city's markets, as well as the contributions made by the markets network to Barcelona's economic strength.
Throughout the week, the delegation also visited several of the city's commercial facilities, including La Boqueria, Santa Caterina, Sant Antoni, La Llibertat, La Concepció and Hostafrancs. The wholesale market, Mercabarna, was also included within the tour, so that they could see first-hand exactly what it entails and the volume of business carried out there, as well as the importance of a market of this kind within the wholesale sector, with this market supplying an extremely high percentage of stalls within Barcelona's urban network and that of other towns.
Exchange of experiences
The process of sharing good practices between the municipal markets of both cities, Barcelona and Medellín, began in July 2009, when a delegation of the IMMB made up of Genís Arnàs and Xavier Trull were invited on a working visit to the city of Medellín. This city had requested the visit as it was interested in receiving advice on how to improve the management of its markets.