Apr 28, 2008, 6:30 AM
It is very important that we continue to patronise more of our local products, so as to empower our local entrepreneurs, and to give a needed boost to the development of local industries.
In fact, this would be in line with the policy of the government, which had established the new ministry responsible for industrial development, in order to promote the development of national industries.
For one thing, products that are home-grown are usually fresh, which gives them a qualitative edge over the imported consumer items.
Actually, in order to be satisfied that the 'proof of the pudding is in the eating,' one should take products such as locally-produced fish, beef and poultry meat and eggs, for example.
There is no doubt that these do taste better, and are more nutritious compared to the cheaper, and sometimes even more plentiful, imported foodstuffs available in our local markets and supermarkets.
However, not many people are aware of this fact, and there must be greater public sensitisation, to help change the attitude of local consumers towards locally-produced foods.
Local poultry farmers, for instance, have been trying hard to satisfy the demand for fresh eggs and chicken. But they are yet to receive the full patronage of local supermarkets and hotels, among others.
Another thing to consider is the fact that, when we empower our local industries we create more employment opportunities for our young people.
Patronising local products is also the surest way to help develop the potential of community-based entrepreneurs and reduce poverty, for instance.
Being mindful of the provisions of the new competition law, and other regulatory mechanisms in place, we are not saying that people should not buy imported products.
Neither do we call for the banning of any imported product, especially when there is no proof of adequate local production to meet demand.
Our emphasis is simply on Buying Local! Patronage is very key, we believe.
Once local producers are able to get more patronage, they would be encouraged to go ahead and produce even more. This would in turn help expand local businesses, which would no uncertain term positively impact on the national economy.
While the market is open to all players, more encouragement should be given to locals to enable them compete with imports from the big industries in Asia,
Meanwhile, our local entrepreneurs face the challenge of constantly improving their products to meet the taste of local consumers, and win their confidence.
At this juncture, we must commend our local industries for their hard work, despite numerous challenges out there.
Our advice to local industries is that they must continue to be innovative, and add more value to their products. That is the way to attract more customers and keep them, since providing a good quality product is essential to the success of any business.
"I am especially proud to have the support of men and women who provide essential services for our citizens."