The founder of Kwafre Farms and 2018 National Best Farmer, James Boateng, says it is possible for local agribusiness entrepreneurs to have their products listed in major supermarkets if they produce quality products and provide a convincing sales pitch.
Speaking during the virtual forum of the 2021 Citi Business Festival on Tuesday, Mr. Boateng said while major supermarkets are not under any obligation to list local products on their shelves, local products can break in if they are of high quality and fit into the market demands of the supermarkets.
“We need to remind ourselves that it is a free market situation we operate in, and there is an extent to which these regulators can do some enforcements… I think it is basically about persistence. Sometimes we assume that if you walk into Shoprite and you have a locally produced product, because it is South African [firm], the perception is that they bring majority of their products from South Africa, [so] they cannot list local products,” he said.
Many agribusiness owners continue to complain about limited acceptance of local products in major supermarkets in Ghana.
International advisory firm, Konfidants, in a 2019 survey of Made in Ghana goods sold in Ghana’s leading supermarkets disclosed that only 18% of goods in 23 product categories were locally sourced.
The figure however went up to 26% in 2020.
Many entrepreneurs believe that the development is generally based on the lack of reception for local products by the supermarkets, but according to Mr. Boateng, having a good sales pitch and quality products will help local agribusiness firms have their products listed.
“Approach them, but don’t approach them with a long story. At the end of the day, quality speaks for itself. If you are able to do your sales talk, and if you are able to give them the right information and package what you want to sell, it will give you a good sell. The representation [of local products] is pathetic, but quality sells,” he advised.
He added that local entrepreneurs can capitalize on the supermarkets’ interest in supporting local farmers and businesses to get their quality products listed.
“Most of these big multinationals are not just interested in what they buy and stock. Sometimes they have in mind the social contract, and they would love to work with small farmers doing the right thing. Just make sure you have the right quality, the right mindset, and the right confidence to be able to go in,” he added.