He said some of the factors that influence the preference of consumption between locally produced versus foreign imported products include: Quality, Packaging meant to lure appeal, Availability and Knowledge about the products.
He said: “In almost all cases “quality” – which in layman’s terms means “high standards” and which in turn refers to the property to satisfy the desired purpose with little or no undesirable side effects/outcomes, is the key determining factor in determining choices. This is particularly true in the case of food stuffs.”
He said that our local foods are produced largely under un-spoilt environmentally serene conditions without the heavy use of chemicals – which our farmers cannot afford anyway and that because of their relatively higher quality in the sense that they lack harmful chemical residues, these “organic foods” are highly sought after in especially foreign markets.
He went on to say: “In our campaign to promote “Made in Sierra Leone” products we must not sacrifice quality. In this vein it is worth noting that the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau is positioned to register and test local products for conformity to quality standards and to undertake shelf-life studies.”
He added that the dilemma we may be faced with as a country is that some of our local producers may not be able to afford the cost of such laboratory tests considering the high costs of equipment, maintenance, reagents, power, etc. involved in carrying out the tests.
He maintained that this would need a call for a government policy decision on the prices charged for tests and analyses – at least at the initial stages of the roll out of the “Made in Sierra Leone” brands.
In essence, he went on to say that the Bureau can be counted upon as a reliable partner in “midwifing” the teething stage of what is our own ’industrial revolution’.
“I believe it is such advantages that we must highlight in packaging our local foods with the view of giving them a competitive edge in the local and international markets,” Dr. Yormah said.