The Buy Malawi Strategy (BMS) seems to be gaining ground, with 70 percent of goods stocked in super markets supplied by local producers.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Henry Mussa expressed the sentiments on Monday when he visited some of the super markets in Lilongwe.
He said he was impressed to note that most goods, especially fresh foods, are locally-produced.
“This means that both investors and consumers understand the importance and the objective of the strategy. Home industry is always best. We only needed to change the mindset,” said Mussa.
Some of the shops he visited included Food Lovers Market and Shoprite both at Gateway Mall, Lilongwe City Mall, Chipiku Stores at Game Complex, Sana Cash ‘N’ Carry and Sogecoa Golden Peacock Shopping Mall.
He said in most of the shops, locally-produced fresh foods outnumbered imported ones while in some shops, stocks were within the 50-50 ratio.
Gateway Mall Shoprite fresh foods manager Andrew Banda, in an interview, said locally-produced goods are marketable, but the major challenge with most of them is poor packaging.
Game Complex Chipiku shop manager Fillip Bens said many people ask for locally-produced good, especially fruits and vegetables, which shows that they are on demand.
“The local products have proved themselves and that is why we took a bold step to call for supplies and do the packaging ourselves because we know the challenge that most local producers have in packaging,” he said.
Mussa said the ministry will find ways of engaging traders who still regard imported goods as superior to local ones and encourage them to support the BMS.
He said through small and medium enterprise window on capacity building, the ministry sensitises local industry players to the need to improve on packaging.
President Peter Mutharika launched the BMS in April 2016 to promote buying of locally- produced goods.
To ensure that local industries fully utilise the available markets, the strategy aims at changing the perceptions of Malawians towards locally-made products.
In addition to this benefit, the recently passed and gazzeted 2017 Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act mandates that 60 percent of government procurement be localised.
The strategy is a result of a 2009 presidential directive to boost the consumption of locally-produced goods.
The essence of the strategy is to encourage consumption of locally produced goods and services on the assumption that such goods and services are found in Malawi with a sufficient appeal to potential buyers.
Overall, the strategy is expected to enhance competitiveness of local firms to stimulate local production. n