NEWS COMMENTARY ON A SURVEY ON MADE IN GHANA GOODS IN MAJOR SUPERMARKETS IN GHANA.
The survey conducted between April and May this year covered eight leading supermarkets in Accra: Shoprite, Game, Palace Mall, Koala, Maxmart, CityDia, Melcom and Marina Mall. It focused on twenty-three main product categories chosen based on a preliminary baseline survey that identified product categories in the supermarkets with Made in Ghana goods on display. The research by an international advisory firm, Konfidants, is the first in a series of Africa-wide surveys to monitor local content in big supermarkets across the continent.
The findings confirm that there are not enough Made-In-Ghana goods in the stores. A total number of seven thousand 462 brands from the 23 product categories were counted across all eight supermarkets. Out of this number, six thousand108 representing 82 percent were foreign brands with only one thousand 354 representing 18 percent being Made in Ghana brands. It is an indictment on the nation to learn that the only best performing category of Made in Ghana goods is Eggs with 91percent of all eggs on sale produced in Ghana, followed by bottled water with 56 percent locally produced.
Well, one may say we should be happy that at least these two products are featuring strongly on the shelves. While about 56 percent of bottled water sold across all supermarkets are Made in Ghana, it is still mindboggling that a whopping 44percent of water is imported. How? It is unbelievable that the nation cannot produce quality water for domestic use and has to depend on close to fifty percent bottled water imports. The worst performing categories according to the report are rice and Cosmetics/beauty products with six percent each of products sold in this category being Made in Ghana.
Other poor performers are confectioneries & biscuits, beverage powder and tea as well as sanitary products categories which recorded less than ten percent made in Ghana across the supermarkets. The findings however revealed that food products, fresh and processed dominate the 23 categories in which made in Ghana goods are visible in the supermarkets. Only 18 percent of Fish & Seafood sold is from Ghana; and 63 percent of meat is imported. In the Non-Alcoholic Drinks & Juices category, only 13 percent of brands are Made in Ghana. Contrary to widely held beliefs about “cheap imports”, the survey found that Ghanaian goods are generally cheaper than imported goods in majority of product categories.
The findings have left questions on the minds of many analysts. They wonder how competitive made in Ghana products are on the shelves? How far is the quality of packaging and the taste of Ghanaians for foreign products driving the locally produced goods out of the supermarkets? It is refreshing that the survey revealed that while foreign brands are superior in terms of packaging, there is strong evidence that the “packaging gap” is beginning to shrink as several made in Ghana goods are catching up with foreign brands in packaging quality.
Even though there are more to competitiveness than just price, quality, packaging and brand perception, it is important for government to take this survey seriously and take the necessary steps to gradually increase the presence of made in Ghana goods in the malls. The Ministry of trade and Industry, Ghana Union of Traders Association and local entrepreneurs need to strategize and adopt pragmatic and drastic measures to make made in Ghana goods attractive and competitive to consumers. Operators of the malls must also be encouraged to stock their shelves with more made in Ghana goods. It is equally essential for Ghanaians to learn to consume locally made goods to help create jobs and address foreign exchange challenges associated with the import of goods.
BY DOMINIC HLORDZI, A JOURNALIST