Fair Made in Togo" opend Monday in Lome

A better knowledge of standards becomes therefore an imperative for all actors in the value chain.

"As entrepreneur in a business sector, you have to know all the norms related to your field, this knowledge helps you avoid wasting time and know where you are going, if you make soy, corn and so on, you have to master all these standards", strongly recommends, Lawson-Hetchely Fossou, Acting Director of the Togolese Agency for Standardization (ATN).

Launched in 2015, ATN aims to help those interested in standards so that they have their products certified. Many entrepreneurs start without knowing the standards and struggle to access international markets.

"If you want your product to be well inlaid, visible, it is absolutely necessary to go through the norms and we have standards for all sectors of activity (agriculture, fishing, forestry, aquaculture, tourism, construction, etc." assures Lawson -Hetchely.

Local consumption, a priority for the government

The government is aware that the massive imports of goods and services to meet the needs of the population, undermine the balance of trade, structurally deficit. The Central Bank of West African States (Bceao) has several times in its reports called upon the public authorities to take courageous initiatives to reduce this deficit.

"In Togo, if we can feel happy for having achieved food self-sufficiency in connection with some basic products such as maize, millet, sorghum, yam, cassava and so on, it is still true that we largely dependent on the outside", acknowledges Kodjo Adedze, Minister of Commerce, Industry, Private Sector Development and Promotion of Local Consumption.

The 2019 edition of the "Fair Made in Togo" opend Monday at the Togolese Center of Exhibitions and Fairs (Cetef) on the theme "value and consume local products" offers the opportunity to give more interest to local products.

Exhibitors from sectors and branches of agriculture, agribusiness, textiles, crafts, production support and marketing support occupy the stands to showcase their local know-how.

The fair's director, Johnson Kueku-Banka, praised the quality of the exhibitions especially, the packaging of the products which, without doubt, are exportable in other markets.

The United States pledge

On the fair this year, there is a strong American presence. These are local companies that have received support from the US Embassy in Lome. The American diplomat in Lome, Eric william Stromayer as his predecessors, encourages social entrepreneurs like Alaffia NGO whose results are to capitalize on scale.

"We are investing in human resources knowing that the best long-term results for the country come from the hard work of those in our society who are committed to creating a service or product that enables the development of their community," says Stromayer.

Essohouna Saman from the "Essowazi" group of Dedeboua in Sotouboua (287km from Lome) benefits from the support program for female entrepreneurship of the US Embassy in Lome.

"In 2016, we benefited from funding from the United States, which allowed us to buy threshing machines and increase our cultivable area, and they accompany the group with training and regular visits to the production site", testifies Mrs. Saman, secretary of the group.

Togo has enormous potential for agricultural production. People are invited on the site of the fair to discover all these products of the soil and to supply them. This is the real meaning of local consumption.

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