Local manufacturers have been charged to partner with the consumer retail sector to boost supply shortfalls caused by the current slump in the global economy and COVID-19 fuelled market disruptions.
Ade Sun-Basorun, CEO of omni-channel retailer, FoodCo Nigeria Limited, made the call on the heels of recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which show that the manufacturing sector recorded a real GDP growth of 3.49% in the second quarter of the year compared to an 8.78% decline recorded within the same period last year.
Noting that the figures show that the Nigerian market was picking up pace despite the disruptions to the economy, Sun-Basorun stated that a lot still needs to be done especially in meeting local demands for consumer goods both as a lifestyle essential and as an important driver of economic activity.
He said: “The consumer goods sector, like others, is having its fair share of pandemic induced challenges including forex scarcity, rising inflation and import bottlenecks. These, combined with a shrinking disposable income, have made many foreign products which hitherto posed a fierce competition to local players, out of reach for many consumers. The situation therefore presents a unique opportunity for local manufacturers and cottage industries to step up to the challenge of providing cost effective alternatives at the same or even better quality.
“Looking at the NBS report, three segments – cement, food and beverages, and textiles – generated about 77% of the total output value in the manufacturing sector. However, there are huge gaps of untapped opportunities in other categories such as apparel, footwear, cosmetics, toiletries, wood and wood products, among others.”
While reiterating the company’s commitment to supporting local manufacturing, the FoodCo CEO called on sector players to seize the changing dynamics to forge strategic partnerships that will enhance their visibility and open them to growth frontiers.
He continued: “As a brand, we have been deliberate in maintaining a balance between ensuring that our customers have access to the products they love, and supporting the local industry to ensure that they produce products our customers love. This is why we continue to make investments to build capacity in the local small and medium scale enterprise and cottage communities.”
“This year, we organized the Big Break With FoodCo competition aimed at providing budding entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 years access to market opportunity leveraging our network of stores. We are also working out a scheme to support smallholder farmers which we hope to launch later in the year,” he added.
Founded in 1982, FoodCo is a diversified consumer goods company with interests in retail, quick service restaurants, manufacturing and entertainment. The company currently operates the largest supermarket brand chain in south-west Nigeria, outside Lagos.