The Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism has emphasised the need for local manufacturers of goods and providers of services to popularise their products to close an information gap that is creating assumptions that Malawi does not have quality products.
Speaking at a recent Buy Malawian Shop Storming exercise in Lilongwe, Director of SMEs and Registrar of Cooperatives, Wiskes Nkombezi noted that “we have quality products on the market, but consumers are not aware of what we are producing locally.”
“Malawian products could be priced higher because they are not taking advantage of the economies of scale. Because most Malawians buy imported goods and services, we are creating a huge market for imported goods which has led foreign companies to benefit from economies of scale hence reduced prices of imported products,” he stressed.
While most people may not be aware of the local products on the market, recent Buy Malawi Secretariat staff interactions with consumers in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, showed that people are interested to know what local products are available on the market.
“Where have you been all this time?” asked one consumer at Blantyre Shoprite.
“This strategy should have been in place long time ago. I welcome it, however, I need to know if we have addressed supply side constraints, quality and pricing of products,” she emphasised.
Astonishingly, it was noted that foreigners living in Malawi had full baskets of locally made products ranging from food and hygiene products than Malawian consumers.
“Malawian products are very good. I personally like them because they are organic which I find very healthy,” said a consumer of foreign origin living in Malawi.
The enthusiasm displayed by consumers in shops like Shoprite, Peoples Metro, Chipiku Plus and Sana, confirmed support the Buy Malawian Strategy (BMS) has, with indications that people would be happy to consume local if a wider range of products and services are brought onto the market.
The BMS, among others, is working with companies to ensure a stable supply of quality goods and services on the market and change people’s mindset that local is inferior.
The strategy is a Government initiative that aims at moving Malawi from a predominantly importing to an exporting economy which also answers directly to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8; Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all and 9; Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.