Support local businesses for socio-economic growth

EVANS Ngoma.

HE IS mine and he is my friend. I am sure at some point in our lives, we have uttered those nice words to our loved ones just to prove that we really do care for their well-being. This is what has in our humble view made who we are as a country and people; loving, caring, peaceful yet diverse in our culture, political views, preferences, tastes etc. One umbilical cord that binds us is our national tribe – Zambia.
As I was reading through various regional articles, there is one particular article that I will pick a point from. Zambia as a country is ranked in the top 10 with over approximately seven million people in poverty.
Oooops! what scary statistics. It got me thinking, discussing with peers where and what could be wrong. Yet, we are a country with so much potential, we have abundant water bodies, God-given natural resources, good climatic conditions, strong and favourable agricultural base and more importantly, the greatest resource ever, we the people.
Lots of points were put across and a lot seems to correctly answer our status quo, but for the sake of this article, I will zone it to this, how are we as Zambians supporting our own local businesses?
So much has been said, as BuyZed we have been criss-crossing the country with one simple message – “in whatever we do buy and or support local goods and services.”
Reservations have been made on some local products and services on pricing, quality, availability, after sales support and rightly so.
There is need to up the game and be competitive. Our strong view is the benefits that accrue cumulatively and collectively from supporting our own local businesses are immense as they contribute to the collective, well-being for all of us and a country.
All sectors need our support; agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and the service Industry. In this article I will highlight and celebrate one of the many local indigenous companies that have been in existence for over 25 years. Grown in leaps and bounds and it surely is a good story to learn from.
The agriculture sector has so many sub sectors, fresh farm produce for vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, beans etc, dairy, meat and poultry sub sectors. We all in a way use, consume many of the products.
Have we found time to ask ourselves questions like what have I as an individual contributed to the success of our country.
Have we been clear in mind and conscience value derived from supporting our own?
Some of us might have read and heard in print and electronic media some point about influx of genetically modified organisms from outside the country.
The narrative has been about threats posed to our health and more importantly, to the survival of local companies, especially the in poultry industry.
We have a lot of big players and are being complemented by women cooperatives as well as individuals in order to satisfy the local demand, let alone the export market that is yearning for organic food.
Local companies create employment, support other players in the value chain, contribute towards the national cause by paying and remitting taxes, play their part in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and one such company is Country Choice Chicken in the poultry industry.
Country Choice Chicken is a sister company, Hybrid Poultry, which was established a year before Zambia got independence.
It is into breeding chicks and in line with what we believe to a genuine intent in value addition, the company grows the chicks and distribute now as a complete product (chicken) that most of us have consumed in most fast-food outlets, hotels and lodges countrywide.
Yes, while they are a producer and sell day-old chicks to other businesses, there is value addition from a chick that costs less than K3 each to K25 per kg.
Along the way, there is supporting each others’ business be it veterinary service, maize farmers through employment creation, earning income and contributing to the fiscus.
Imagine just importing a finished product income and opportunities that would be lost. Surely we must and need to support our local products.
We all agree that most chickens produced locally are organic meaning there is no danger of being affected health-wise by these chemicals in these GMO products.
Organic produce has huge market in Europe and can earn the producer, country much-desired foreign currency. Surely, local is lakka.
Remember it takes every citizen to make our country great.
The author is the founder of the BuyZed campaign.

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