Giant retailer challenges local suppliers

Uchumi Supermarket is embarking on a massive expansion plan that will see it increase the number of its local suppliers by ten times in the next few years, it has been learnt.

Without specifying the time-frame for the realisation of the plan, country manager Chris Lenana, said the firm also plans to build the capacity of Tanzanians in producing and supplying to big markets.

“We would appreciate to see citizens fully exploiting this opportunity for their own economic growth,” Mr Lenana said in a statement a copy of which was sent to The Citizen yesterday. 

He invited small-scale vegetable and fruit producers as well as poultry and livestock keepers to supply to the expansive retail firm. Uchumi has an internal business policy of sourcing all its supplies locally.

During the two years the firm has been operating in the country, it has striven to avoid stocking imported foodstuffs and other foreign products that are locally available, leading to improved quality of processed products by local companies.

Fresh juice, fruit squash, breakfast cereals, processed tea and coffee are some of the local products that are now sold en masse at the outlet.

Mr Lenana pleaded with Tanzanian entrepreneurs to mint money out of the opportunity made available to them.

With only one shop with 200 employees, Uchumi Supermarket had enlisted 300 suppliers, all Tanzanian, earning an average of Sh300 million a week or Sh1.2 billion a month.

The increase in the number of shops to 10 is expected to increase the number of workers and suppliers as well.

Speaking at the firm’s second anniversary celebrations in Dar es Salaam recently, Uchumi Group CEO Jonathan Ciano revealed that the Tanzania chapter would open new outlets in Dar es Salaam and up country regions.

Uchumi is on the process of cross-listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange to avail Tanzanians with an opportunity of owning the firm. He attributed the supermarket’s fast growth to good business environment in the country.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Patty Magubira, from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania   
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