When it comes to grocery shopping, we often prioritize convenience and price over where our food comes from. But with the recent takeover of three Food Lovers Market franchises by OK Zimbabwe, the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) is urging consumers to support local farmers by making sure the majority of the produce on the shelves is locally sourced.

Under the conditions set by the CTC, OK Zimbabwe must buy at least 85% of its produce from local farmers, maintain or improve existing trading agreements with wholesalers and farmers, and ensure that the employment contracts of Food Lovers Market employees are maintained or improved for at least two years.

This is a win for local farmers, who will have a guaranteed market for their produce and the opportunity to build economies of scale in serving a wider range of stores. It’s also a win for consumers, who will have access to fresh, locally sourced produce that supports the local economy.

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But it’s not just about supporting local farmers. It’s also about avoiding a monopsony, where a single buyer has too much power to dictate prices and control relationships with suppliers. By requiring OK Zimbabwe to maintain or improve existing trading agreements and avoid engaging in such practices, the CTC is ensuring that the market remains competitive and fair for everyone involved.

Of course, there may be concerns about the potential increase in prices due to the requirement to source locally. But by supporting local farmers, we’re also supporting the local economy and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Additionally, the CTC’s conditions ensure that OK Zimbabwe will not be able to engage in price gouging or other unfair practices.

This is a positive step for Zimbabwe’s retail market and local farmers. By prioritizing locally sourced produce, we can support sustainable agriculture practices, promote economic growth, and ensure a fair and competitive market for everyone involved. So the next time you go grocery shopping, remember to support your local farmers by choosing locally sourced produce.