It is not often that the word ‘local’ gets so much positive feedback, especially when it is attached to a label on a product. However the word reveals that the item being sold was produced locally and that is good news.
Why do we need to import goods?
I have always wondered why the items on supermarket shelves in a Jamaica are mostly imported from other countries. Don’t we produce a lot of things? Why do we need to import so many items?
Well we don’t always produce every item that is imported and some products are not produced in enough quantities in Jamaica. This means that we have to import these items but there are other reasons why the importation of items continue.
The easiest factor to identify that leads to excessive importation of products is the cost of the item. If items that are imported are cheaper to buy then they will also make a better profit margin when consumers choose them over their local counterpart.
Local manufacturers might have more overhead costs and so their pricing has to reflect their effort and time that they invested in the product. The packaging for imported items might also be more attractive or it has a larger fan base locally.
I know that we grow excellent local coffee but if you check the prices it can be very high. The local market cannot afford expensive coffee, so we export that and import cheaper coffee. The difference in the import/export price goes towards the country balance of trades this means more money in than money out of the country.
So why should we buy Jamaican?
It might seem as if it shouldn’t matter where our favourite product is made as long as we can afford it but is that really the truth? Actually it does matter if we don’t support local producers.
The support provides an income to several families as these companies hire locals to work to build their company so when they do well their workers benefit.
It is also important to note that by supporting local product we are actually getting a better quality as the product did not have to travel long distances to get to its destination.
If you buy local products and you are dissatisfied with them it is easier to gain redress than when you purchase imported products. The headquarters for these imported products are often far away and might take a long time to respond to customer queries.
Of course there is also the matter of being proud Jamaicans and supporting local producers because we know that our little island needs all the help it can get as it continues to go from strength to strength.
So do you buy Jamaican? Let me hear from you!
Teri Ann Renee Paisley
Gleaner online writer