THISDAY reports that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) has expressed its commitment to the growth and development of the Nigerian retail business toward a sustainable and attractive economy.
To train operators and implement strategies to improve the industry, the Department is partnering with the National Association of Supermarket Operators of Nigeria (NASON). The Department notes that there is a new trend in retail where consumers have shifted from purchasing food products at open air markets, to temperature controlled supermarkets and convenience stores. This means there is the need to equip operators with knowledge required to meet up with the latest trends and operate within global standards.
At a workshop that had operators, regulators and stakeholders of the retail sector in attendance, the Regional Agricultural Counsellor, Embassy of the USA, Mr. Jude Akhidenor, explained that Nigeria maintained a good relationship with the US in the area of exporting and selling US based products. He noted the initiative will increase knowledge and deepen the bond between the two countries.
The National Chairman of NASON, Asiwaju Solomon Onofowokan disclosed in his speech titled “Nigeria Retail Food Sector, Trends, Challenges and Opportunities” that Nigeria is still about 75% of what is expected from all formal supermarket operators, pointing out that engagement of this nature would improve operations.
Onifowokan lamented that despite the prospects of the sector- employment opportunities, investments, and business expansion, it is still constrained by unfriendly business environments and unfaithful workers. He acknowledged that “the global listing agreement entered into between NAFDAC and the association, as well as the self regulatory process embarked upon by its members, has had tremendous impact on emerging shopping malls now abound all over the country”.
Mr. Joseph Ebata, President of Bervidson Retail Group, explained that despite trends in the food market, Nigeria’s retail food sector remains under developed and poorly managed. He noted that many discerning food suppliers across the world are now concerned about handling and distribution of their products to consumers.