Retailers ready to shelf local goods

Elizabeth Kheibes
The ministry of industrialisation and trade says its ‘Buy Local, Grow Namibia’ campaign last year was a resounding success.

Its commerce director, Diina Nashidengo, said the campaign aimed to sensitise the Namibian people about the availability of locally produced goods in local retailers.

"During this campaign, the ministry was joined by most of the big retailers that are signatory to the retail charter, and this initiative was a resounding success," she said.

Currently, the retail charter is voluntary, and the ministry highlighted that it does not compel retailers to create shelf space for locally produced goods.

According to Nashidengo, the Nambiar Trade Forum (NTF) was established as a public-private sector consultative and cooperation platform.

NTF then facilitates communication and cooperation between the private and public sectors, and as a platform through which government solicits business.

The forum couldn't comment at the time of publishing.

Local is lekker

"Since the launch of the retail charter, the ministry has observed a substantive number of locally produced goods that have found shelf space in local retailers.

“This remarkable achievement is highly acknowledged through the recognition of retailers who have adhered to government's call as encapsulated in the charter," the ministry said.

Nashidengo added that although the growth is notable, there's still work that needs to be done.

“Several local producers are not competitive in terms of access to raw materials, consistency in supply, meeting standards, packaging, pricing, branding, labelling and barcodes,” she said.

No force

With the charter being a voluntary initiative, the ministry has little to no control over whether retailers partake or not.

It said over 20 retailers are signatories to the charter and have provided shelf space for locally produced goods.

Since its inception, not much resistance has been experienced from retailers, it added.

"Even though the retail charter is in place, the uptake of the local produce by the local retailers is still below desirable levels.”