Gov’t takes bold step on local procurement

Government will soon introduce a procurement policy that will bond its agencies and large companies operating in the country to source majority of their raw materials and inputs from local producers once such inputs are available, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, a Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, has said.

“The policy will also mandate foreigners in the retail business to dedicate at least four shelves to stock only locally-made products.

This is one way we can ensure that Ghana-made goods get the prominence in our malls to increase patronage and consumption,” he told journalists on the sidelines of a tour of the fresh fruits and vegetables supplier, Eden Tree Limited, in Accra.

According to Mr. Ahenkorah, government, by these interventions, wants to ensure that farmers and manufacturers across the country get ready market for their produce to curtail food wastage and to aid job creation.

“For instance, if we have a company like Eden Tree whose products meet safety and quality standards operating in the country, why should hoteliers and large catering companies import onions and tomatoes from other countries?” he queried.

The minister’s comments parallelsuggestions from procurement experts on the need for a national procurement strategy or policy that will push local buying.

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President of the Ghana Institute of Procurement and Supply (GIPS), Collins Agyemang, told the B&FT in January that: “Getting people to buy locally is about the mindset and changing that mindset should be backed by policies and strategies.

The success of the Akufo-Addo-led government’s “One district, One factory” initiative, for instance, hinges largely on such an intervention given that Ghanaians have developed a high taste for foreign goods.”

According to the deputy minister, government’s strategic plan is to improve the country’s domestic trade by engaging the private sector to establish retail infrastructure at the various regional capitals.

It is also to establish an industrial sub-contracting exchange that will match the needs of large industries with outputs from small and medium sized enterprises.

“There is the need for agriculture sector actors to, as a matter of urgency, improve their production capacity,” he said, while encouraging the youth to take advantage of the government’s “Planting for Food and Jobs” initiative.

The visit to Eden Tree Limited afforded the minister the opportunity to ascertain the needs of the fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables supplier and how the trade ministry could provide the requisite support to make the company and others of its kind more productive.

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Eden Tree Limited is a Ghanaian-owned market leader in the agro-processing of packaged fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables, with the aim to create a brand profile and a corporate culture of quality in the food service industry.

It also seeks to promote healthy eating habits in the country by producing, packaging, and supplying high quality vegetables, fruits, and herbs to the Ghanaian market as well as contribute strongly to job creation.

Source: Patrick Paintsil/thebftonline.com/Ghana

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