That picture speaks “Ghanaian Tasty Food” more than a spoken lecture would.
Those reading this in the newspapers should put on some 3D glasses and take one look at that picture in colour to instantly activate your salivary glands. As Ghanaians, we love our food. I am first to confess that I do crazy maths to decide whether to purchase a $0.99 app from the AppStore, but with food, that math is very short and very basic. Here are empirical reasons why you should buy made in Ghana food products.
What if our love and preference for Ghanaian tasty dishes was tapped into towards Ghanaian Food Products. Good news is, MADE IN GHANA is getting trendy. It’s too vivid to be uncoordinated. Maybe it’s euphoria from the immense ongoing hype of the YEAR OF RETURN. Maybe it’s a targeted effort to actualise Government’s agric policies. Last week Monday, our Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, marketed Ghana Rice during his speech at the launch of the 35th National Farmers Day Celebration in Ho. He said,
“…for this Christmas, as you go out to buy your rice, please make sure you are buying rice which is grown either in Aveyime or Bolgatanga or Tono or somewhere in Ghana. Let’s buy and eat made in Ghana rice!”
Whatever started this, I’m loving it. Because it seems like farmers in Ghana can only make serious profits if they look at foreign markets, when the very huge market they seek is right here.
Let’s be practical. Most of us don’t buy Ghanaian rice. The powers that be need to understand that enforcing our quality control and safety standards is imperative to gaining public confidence in ‘certified’ Ghanaian Food Products: the key word here is ‘certified’.
If you buy palm oil from the roadside not certified by the Food and Drugs Board and then call it patronising MADE IN GHANA, what you have done is; you’ve bought palm oil from the roadside not certified by the Food and Drugs Board, that’s all. What proves it’s even Ghanaian? What proves it’s even oil?
The FDB has been constantly in the news for a while now for impounding contraband products, reprimanding those that import without the appropriate licences and enforcing other regulations. So that’s very good for the MADE IN GHANA Agenda as it aids public confidence.
The blunt fact is, the average Ghanaian has had this underlying presumption (and this presumption extends to our locally grown food products as well) that almost everything from Ghana has lesser standards than those from the foreign western markets, be it safety, quality control and even customer-centric experiences. Amalia might have been giving you extra talia since 1999 but you don’t tweet about her wonderful customer service. Get one chicken toe from KFC and you’d recycle pictures and praises of that meal over a 52-week period, regardless of the cost.
Guess what… now MADE IN GHANA is cool to Instagram too. I don’t think it’s a fluke when Sarkodie tweets about trying out a Ghanaian rice brand for the first time. It’s now A THING. It’s a good thing too because hype creates credibility, whether misplaced or well-earned. From all indication, Ghana has the systems in place to very well serve our booming agriculture markets right here at home so create that hype! Ghana has earned this.
The benefits of buying MADE IN GHANA Food Products are many… and they make sense too!
Often times, it means less pesticide in your body. Food produced on very large plantations tend to use stronger pesticides or even totally avoid using natural pest repellents or other organic methods. They are more likely to mass spray their crops with dangerous substances than the local farmer. Locally produced rice, for instance, tends to be healthier.
It also means less preservatives in your body. When the local farmer harvests, and his market is here, why would he use preservatives. Do you know what these corporations abroad add to their produce to keep it fresh while its being harvested and transported from halfway around the world to Makola or Kumasi Mall where you buy them? The local farmer won’t give you that headache.
Better Nutrition is what you get. When food is grown in its natural season, it tends to be more nutritious. Local farmers are seasonal crop growers and can give you quality. This is as opposed to imported goods which can offer you rainy season goods grown in the snow. Hyperbole, but it lands the point well enough.
Buying MADE IN GHANA Food Products promotes accountability. There is no way FBD can protect you better with imported goods than with locally made ones. The producers are RIGHT HERE and like I mentioned, Food and Drugs Board is very vigilant of late.
Improved Accountability means Improved Safety. The point speaks for itself.
If you’re thinking money, know that if you buy MADE IN GHANA Food Products, you Keep Money In Your Own Country. This money has a better chance of circling back to you than if put into the pockets of someone abroad.
Our farmers are always working. Agriculture is the backbone of Ghana now and before. When you buy MADE IN GHANA Food Products, you help farmers earn a better living. When farmers earn a better living in Ghana, this agric-dependent nation will move forward.
Buying MADE IN GHANA Food Products is an argument that makes itself.
In Other News…
South Korea’s Olympics committee plans to buy radiation detectors for its athletes in Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Games. This is because it does not trust locally sourced food in Japan for fear it might contain unsafe levels of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, even though many countries have lifted Fukushima-related food restrictions.
I keep wondering if we all know how lucky we have it here in Ghana. A while back, if the average Ghanaian were to choose between one new locally produced rice and another Japanese one on the stands, I think he’d want to “try and see” the foreign product.
MADE IN GHANA is now top-shelf. Try that one and see.
From My Thinking Spot
For the first time during my stay in Manchester, a homeless man once asked me for coins right in front of the Arndale Shopping Centre. He was actually begging, but the British kind of begging.
“Hello-Hi… could I botha you for some change Sire?”
Read that with a British accent because I typed it in one. Then imagine a lanky white man, visibly dirty, raggedly clothed with an overly worn-out baseball cap and 85% of what used to be sneakers. I probably didn’t smell him because it was a very cold December.
As a born and raised Tema boy, I did not expect my reaction. You see, sometimes you think you know yourself and then something happens and then you realise “oh wow, that’s new information on myself by myself for myself”. That was one of those moments.
My inherent hypocrisy hit me hard that cold morning.
He was homeless… in front of a posh shopping centre… looking like a whitewashed replica of Chappelle Show’s Tyrone Biggums in real life. I understand every country has its poor and homeless population but as I walked into the centre, I realised something.
If in Ghana, a homeless man dressed exactly like that greeted me in the least threatening way at the Accra Mall entrance and asked me for coins, and if he walked towards me the same way this man did in Manchester, I believe my first impulse by then would have been be to keep walking and increase speed accordingly before considering anything else.
Assessing the situation that day, a few years later, and right now, I did not immediately feel threatened by white British Tyrone Biggums. He could have done anything from that distance. I just kept walking as slowly as I was, but if this had happened in Ghana, honestly, I’d have run if approached the same way.
Why? Why the different reaction?
There’s an answer to that and dissecting it isn’t my point here. My point is, that answer is probably the same reason why we are willing to take a chance on trying out foreign products, but hesitate on trying out one’s MADE IN GHANA. Ghana is really a star amongst many nations. Our peace, our laws, our land, and many things about us is better than most but our bias is built-in.
It’s inherent. Admitting it is the first step to a cure. Second step to buy some of that Ghana rice this Christmas because there would not be a more perfect time to get likes or seem trendy or cool with the #MadeInGhana hashtag, and also because it’s the right thing to do.
From my thinking spot, just attempt to buy one bag of Ghana-made rice this Christmas and realise how your mind asks 15 questions in 10 seconds on nutrients, origin, “ei this one kwraa how will it taste”. Then compare it to when you were buying that Asian TAI-FOO rice, and how all your mind said was “let me try and see, maybe I’d like it”.
The bias is illogical. MADE IN GHANA Food Products are the reasonable choice.
Have a lovely week!
Maxwell Ampong is the Group CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, a Trading and Business Solutions consortium. He is also the Property Investment Consultant for Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Ghana. He works with a team of motivated professionals, governed by industry experts with experience spanning over a century. He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.
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