Edo State government, through the Ministry of Business, Trade and Cooperatives, has called on supermarket owners across the state to support local production and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by increasing their patronage of these businesses. This is in an effort to boost local economic development and promote job creation as well as encourage a more sustainable and diversified economy.

During a recent tour of major supermarkets in Benin City metropolis, Edo State’s Ministry of Business, Trade and Cooperatives made an impassioned appeal to the owners of these establishments to actively support the growth of local production and MSMEs.

Hon. Patrick Uanseru, the commissioner for the ministry, stressed the importance of this support, as it would help to build a more resilient and prosperous economy for the state and its residents.

Hon. Uanseru explained that the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has been actively investing in entrepreneurial development for the people of Edo State, particularly in the areas of food processing and production.

However, he pointed out that without readily available markets for these products all of the government’s efforts would be wasted. Therefore, it is essential that supermarket owners work together with the government to create sustainable markets for local producers and to help ensure the success of MSMEs in the state.

The commissioner expressed concern over the practice of importing processed plantain chips, chin chin, groundnuts, yam flour, and plantain flour from other states despite the abundant availability of the raw materials and local producers in Edo State. He emphasized the need to support local businesses and to utilize the state’s resources to their fullest potential, highlighting the need for supermarkets to consider stocking locally produced goods in order to create a sustainable market for MSMEs and to contribute to the economic development of the state.

Mr. Phil Edigin, Executive Director and owner of Phil Hall Mark Supermarket in Benin City, used the opportunity to take the commissioner around the store and showed the various made-in-Edo products that were available for purchase. While discussing the importance of promoting locally produced goods, he acknowledged that some products still do not meet international standards, and as such cannot be included in the items for sale in the supermarket.

He emphasized that quality and packaging are critical to the success of locally made products, and he is working to ensure that they meet the standards required for retail in his store.

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In spite of his status as a successful businessman and Edo/Bini man, Mr. Edigin stressed that he would not compromise standards for the sake of profit or nepotism, explaining that goods that are not up to international standards will not be stocked at his supermarket, regardless of where they are produced. This demonstrates his commitment to upholding high standards and to providing quality goods to his customers. It is a testament to his integrity and dedication to his business, he said.

Mr. Edigin said many producers do come to his store, hoping to have their products stocked. However, he often tells them that while it is one thing to produce a product, it is another thing entirely to have it meet the standards required for the retail market. This demonstrates the importance of quality control and the need for producers to understand the importance of meeting certain standards in order to be successful in the marketplace.

Mr. Edigin made a strong point that local food producers need to pay more attention to the packaging of their products in order to ensure that they meet international standards. He emphasized that packaging is a critical component of quality control, as it not only ensures the safety and integrity of the product, but also enhances its appeal to consumers. This insight highlights the importance of packaging as a key element of successful marketing.

Mr. Uanseru, on behalf of the state government, expressed gratitude to Mr. Edigin for his efforts in reducing unemployment through his supermarket, and also commended the variety of made-in-Edo products available and encouraged Mr. Edigin to continue his efforts in this area.

Mr. Uanseru visited Fordmart Shopping Legacy Mall, where he praised the management for their commitment to supporting local businesses by prominently displaying a diverse selection of made-in-Edo products. This initiative helps to encourage consumers to choose local goods and support the local economy.

When meeting with Mrs. Victoria Onuoha, wife of the owner of Anambra Supermarket, the commissioner praised the store’s support of made-in-Edo products. He expressed his gratitude for their efforts to promote local producers, even though Anambra Supermarket has strong ties to Anambra State. This demonstrates a commitment to the success of local businesses throughout the country.

Mr. Olu Femi, the Purchasing Officer at Market Square, shared with the commissioner that the decision to stock goods from a variety of states was made to ensure a consistent experience for customers at all Market Square outlets.

He assured the commissioner that the company is committed to increasing their support of made-in-Edo products in the future. This illustrates Market Square’s willingness to adapt to customer demand while still promoting local businesses.

In addition to Market Square, the commissioner also visited JARA Supermarket and Stop 2 Shop. Both of these supermarkets were also praised for their support of made-in-Edo products, and the commissioner was impressed by their commitment to promoting local businesses. This reflects a trend of supermarkets throughout the state working to support local producers and boost the local economy.