Multinational retail shops in the country have endorsed the FDA's Progressive Licensing Scheme (PLS) certification initiative.

This is to help increase the volume of local products on sale in their various supermarkets to consolidate the gains of the Authority’s drive for the products.

Most are targeting a range of Made in Ghana items in stock for the Christmas sales and beyond.

The PLS certification was introduced by the FDA to enable Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to produce local goods that meets international health, safety and hygienic standards. Currently, 56 SMEs have received the certification from the FDA.

Instructively, six leading retail shops – Shoprite, Melcom Ghana, Marina Mall, Spar Supermakets (Citydia), Koala Shopping Centre and Palace Shopping Mall – have all endorsed the PLS and are anticipating to stock products from these 56 enterprises into their product portfolio.

A report by diversified international advisory firm, Konfidants, indicate that only 18 percent of consumable goods sold in Ghana’s leading supermarkets originate from here.

The report which was conducted in May 2019 and covered eight leading supermarkets was aimed at monitoring local content to provide evidence-based insights to guide policymaking, inform strategic engagement with supermarkets, and provide technical support to local producers.

The report findings indicated that the best performing category of Made in Ghana goods was eggs (with 91 percent of all eggs on sale produced in Ghana), followed by bottled water (with 56 percent).

Worst performing categories, however, were jointly rice and cosmetics and beauty products with six percent each of the products sold in this category produced locally. Confectioneries and biscuits, beverage powder, tea and sanitary products also recorded less than 10 percent of local products (Made in Ghana) across the supermarkets.

With the introduction of the PLS initiative, according to the retail outlets involved in the initiative, supermarkets will see a significant increase of the volume of Made in Ghana products that are on sale in these shops.

Expectations from supermarkets

Shoprite is optimistic of the partnership and said the PLS has made stocking Ghanaian products a lot easier. Mr Kwame Larbi-Siaw, the Divisional Buyer Manager at Shoprite said though they have a policy of supporting local SMEs to thrive, the Shoprite does not compromise on quality.

“After FDA approval, we look at other qualities of the product to consider it but the approval of FDA is a significant starting point for us”, he disclosed.

The Director of Logistics at Palace Shopping Mall, Emmanuel Kobby Hagan, expressed excitement at the PLS and said the initiative will lead to increased stock of locally manufactured products from Ghanaian SMEs.

“We have always worked closely with the FDA and this certification scheme further strengthens our confidence in made in Ghana goods.

"Palace has its own internal checks and regulatory requirements for locally produced goods but approval from the FDA usually is a key and first requirement for us.” He said.

Melcom has also highly commended the initiative and said the first point it considers before stocking made in Ghana goods is the FDA certification and approval.

The Regulations Manager at Melcom Ghana, Mark Frimpong, said the PLS will help erase the several inconveniences that confront their operations including being approached by individual lobbyists to stock locally produced goods in Melcom.

A Regulatory Officer at Spar Supermarkets, Hephzibah Sam, said Spar is excited at this PLS partnership and looks forward to stocking more made in Ghana products that meets the FDA’s requirement.

She said the basic criteria for Spar as a retail shop, is quality and that is further deepened by the FDA recommendations.

The retailers anticipate that through the PLS, challenges such as packaging, labeling, branding and the production of items under strict hygienic conditions will be adhered to.

All have said the number one challenge they encounter is branding and packaging of these locally manufactured products, which will be resolved by the PLS.

Products targeted in high volumes

With the PLS, the retailers are anticipating to increase the stock of local products such as eggs, bottled water, gari, sugar, porridge powder, cooking oil, confectioneries, pepper sauce, fruit juice and beverages, local dairy products, among several others.

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