Retailers have cautioned local manufacturers against failing to be diverse in the manufacturing space.
Retailers highlighted that as a result they are unable to absorb all locally made produce.
Chief Executive Officer of Sefalana group Gerhard Scheepers told this publication that even though they have entrusted themselves with buying local produce, it has sometimes proven difficult to do so due to a high volume of one product seeking to be placed in their stores.
Scheepers stressed that it should be known that locals are failing to be innovative by producing a variety of products which can be sold across their stores in the country.
“I have listed a lot of local suppliers and we continue to support them but unfortunately due to a limited space in our stores we cannot accommodate all of them,”
“We do not do any comparisons of local products with imports because Bureau of standards is always ready to evaluate quality and assist where possible,” he said.
He highlighted that they have since been approached by 26 bottled water suppliers adding that this is a classic example of failure by locals to innovate.
He said there is need for education to be imparted on aspiring entrepreneurs adding that some businesses are not sustainable and will continue to deprive them of markets.
“We have made great strides over the years by ensuring that a lot of locally made produce are absorbed and we shall continue to do so across our 70 stores across the country,” said Scheepers.
He added that Sefalana has opened their doors for local producers to supply their group with different products adding that producers have failed over the years to supply the entire group as most can only supply one store.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer of Choppies Ramachandran Ottapatu said locals have let his down on many occasions saying that he stores have currently run out of certain produce.
Ottapatu said there is no courage to produce different products in order to have their produce placed in retail spaces.
“We have many people producing water in a population of 2 million and how many people are going to drink it, so to be honest some of these businesses are going to close down because there is no diversity in their produce,”
“It is cheaper to buy locally and sell locally but now our producers are letting us down and that is why in most cases some retailers now crying out to government to open up borders,” said Ottapatu.
He added that his retail has never left locally made product to import adding that they continuously engage stakeholders where possible to ensure that products arrive in their stores.
He highlighted that government should also work on information dissemination to ensure that producers are able to produce enough to satisfy the demand.
Payless Chief Executive Elliot Moshoke said in an interview that as part of her company’s strategy to re-awaken the retail giant, it is sourcing most of its products from local suppliers.
He says he want to want to slam brakes on bureaucracy that local suppliers face when trying to sell their products through leading local retailers. This means that local suppliers and producers will not be subjected to too much paperwork and bureaucratic process which ultimately cause delays if they have up to standard product they want to sell through Payless stores.
Government has previously urged local producers to improve the quality of their goods and services to give them a competitive edge in the domestic, regional and international markets.
The then Minister of Investment, trade and Industry Peggy Serame highlighted producers should continuously improve their quality and standards, including the labeling, packaging and coding of their products.
Launched in 2018, the #PushaBW initiative is a national campaign that aims to encourage Batswana to actively grow the local economy by buying locally made products, supporting local initiatives and using local services. The campaign also aims to improve the productive capacity of local producers.