A statutory authority to control movement and sale of vegetables in Kowloon and the New Territories was first established by an order dated 3 September 1946, made under the Defense Regulations of 1940. This legislation was replaced in 1952 by the Agricultural Products (Marketing) Ordinance, Cap. 277, which gave the authority greater responsibilities and wider powers. The Ordinance was amended in 1969, 1973 and again in 1978. These amendments included new definitions of Market Manager and Senior Manager, the elimination of reference to the Marketing Officer, the removal of the previous limitation on the size of the Marketing Advisory Board, the establishment of the Agricultural Products Scholarship Fund and the extension of the last date for the tabling of the audited accounts before the Legislative Council to 31 October each year.
The Vegetable Marketing Organization was set up by the Director of Marketing in September 1946 to assist in the postwar rehabilitation of local farming and to provide facilities for the orderly and efficient marketing of vegetables as a means to promote the development of vegetable farming and to improve the socio-economic status of the farming community. The Organization originally operated a market at Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon. However, over the years, it proved inadequate to cope with the expanding business and a new market at Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon, was established in June 1965. A capital grant of $1.47 million was made from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund towards the total cost ($2.9 million) of the new market. The balance of capital funding came from the Vegetable Marketing Organization.
The post of Director of Marketing has been filled by a nominated Government officer since it was created in 1946. From 1950 onwards, this officer has also carried other responsibilities for the development and well-being of the farming community.
Marketing services commenced with the establishment of the wholesale vegetable market. A total of five depots manned by Vegetable Marketing Organization staff and a number of collecting centres were set up in vegetable growing districts of the New Territories. As the co-operative movement developed, vegetable marketing co-operative societies were formed and took over most of the collecting centres by undertaking the work of collecting and weighing the vegetables and the related documentation work. There are at present 26 vegetable marketing co-operative societies. One depot remain functional, providing an alternative service for growers who prefer not to sell through Co-operative societies.