Chains stores have increased local sourcing, ZAM observes

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BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes

CHAIN Stores have increased their percentage of local sourcing as amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, says the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) president, Ezekiel Sekele.

Mr Sekele observed that Covid-19 had accelerated the need for Chain stores, such as Shoprite, to increase the percentage of Zambian products on their shelves.

He indicated that the association was working with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) to ensure that more of local farmers were supplying stock to Chain stores.

Mr Sekele was speaking during the Anakazi Banking Online Conversations discussing the topic “Insights from the Zambia Association of Manufacturers in navigating the post Covid-19 world.”

“We have been pushing for local sourcing and Covid-19 has amplified that. Chain stores have more of the Zambian food now.

“For Example, Shoprite about a month ago were buying 43 percent local of the stock and 57 percent was sourced from South Africa. But at the moment, numbers have changed, a number of Chain stores have grown their local sourcing percentages,” Mr Sekele said.

Covid-19, he said, had pushed local suppliers to accelerate their efforts in producing products to ensure that there was shortage commodity shortage in chain stores.

Mr Sekele said the demand by Chain stores had given local farmers the impetus to produce more as there was a readily market.

“Covid-19 has in a way accelerated the change. It has given us the extra effort to do more work. We are seeing the impact on the economic side of our country,” he said.

Mr Sekele also said ZAM was working with Government to ensure that the association operated under an Act of Parliament to incorporate all manufactures.

“We are working within our sector and Government to ensure that we transition the association to operate under an act of parliament so that anyone who ventures into his sector has to register with the association.

“Currently, we are sitting around 240 members but if you see the numbers maintained by Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), we have so many players in the manufacturing sector,” he said.

Stanbic Bank Zambia Chief Financial Officer, Mwindwa Siakalima, said the institution was facilitating growth in all sectors of the economy.

“Manufacturing is very key to what we do as well, looking briefly at statistics, manufacturing represents somewhere around between seven and eight percent in terms of contribution to Gross Domestic Product,” Mr Siakalima said.

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