"The main objective is to create a strong framework of action in towards the State so that the local consumption for which they have just created a ministry is not a vain word as in the past. Then, for actors of local consumption to take into account the agroecology aspect", said Kossi Agbalenyo director of AGIDE NGO whose headquarter hosted the meeting.
And yet, there is no shortage of initiatives to promote the consumption of local products.
"It is possible to produce in large quantities without the use of chemical inputs thanks to the agroecology that is ensuring that there is harmony between the farmer, the product and the land. It is a type of agriculture that allows the farmer listen to the land and that the land cannot feed people at the expense of maintaining its own balance", supports Sena Alouka, executive director of Young Volunteers for the Environment (JVE) which invites producers to approach practitioners to learn how to do it.
"The idea is to bring together those who are involved in local consumption. If we get united we can have access to some funding, some opportunities that will help us reduce the production cost of local raw materials that will intervene in the transformation in order to have finished products that will be cheaper", says Komlavi Daniel Agblevon, owner of a bakery in Lome.
Why is local consumption in a bad way ?
According to the actors, te real problem is the ratio between the price and the quality, especially the price. It is clear that if a local product is expensive compared to an imported product, the consumer will prefer what is imported.
So today, the challenge is to find mechanisms to make local products affordable for everyone.
"For the poor, the local product is more expensive than the imported products, because we have poor agricultural practices, so the end product is expensive, and now for the rich, he has the means to buy the products but he will say that the products are not well presented, so if we can get quality packaging, we can serve the rich and if our prices are competitive, we can serve the poor too", shows Agbalenyo.
"Personally, I am in the manufacture of cassava and yam into bread. If the kilogram of wheat flour is around 250 and 300 CFA while the cassava flour is 800 francs per kilo, is not encouraging", adds Daniel.
At the end of the meeting, an ad hoc committee was set up. Its main mission will be to raise awareness among the population about local consumption.
"We are going to set up regional committees whose role will be to raise the public's awareness of local consumption, and currently the cost of certification is very high. The second mission is to look for certification structures. The last thing is to advocate with the government so that there are subsidies on packaging, the cost of production such a way that the product becomes cheaper for consumers", plans Alphonse Pya-Abalo Amana , chairman of the ad hoc committee.
The eyes are now turned to the ministry in charge of local consumption whose first actions are eagerly awaited.