By Aminata Sanneh
Colonialism is responsible for the negative attitude of Gambians towards local products says Dr Lamin Sidibeh a psychologist. Can b trace back to the colonial era.
According to Dr Sidibeh people were given the impression that “made in England” products are superior to local ones during the colonial era. The British were very powerful and had control over their colonised people’s minds. They also influence the way the society think and behaves to a great extend.
“Colonial masters controlled the mind-set of the people and made them believe that everything British was superior and better. People are very proud of owning products that has the label made in England. This is what makes them give little or no attention to local products,” he says.
‘Made in England’ products a pride in Gambia
He added that during colonial days families were proud of buying foreign products as this accorded them respect and admiration by other in the society. Sighting the low performance of Gambian product at the recently concluded trade fair at the independence stadium as an example Dr Sidibeh said that people are still of influence by colonialism.
“Less Gambian products were bought at the fair, although some of them were of the same standards or even better when compared to foreign ones,” he adds.
A study conducted by International Food Information Council (IFIC) and Artemis Strategy Group in 2010 reveals that 43%of consumers have a negative attitude toward locally processed foods.
According to research both the obesity epidemic and the move toward local and organic alternatives are driving forces in this attitude shift. While consumers’ general attitudes toward processed foods are negative, there is recognition of the significant role processed foods play in their everyday diets. In addition, some types of processed food like sodium, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup have more negative views associated with them than others.
Momodou Wurry a processor of local bread commonly called “Tapalapa” said there is a growing concern about the healthfulness of processed foods by consumers around Kotu. This he said has prompted him to upgrade his bakery and maintains the sanitation of the environment around his work place.
“Many people in Kotu layout used to say that the way we process our bread is responsible for its less consumption by the society. I decided to get a loan and invest in improving the way we process our “tapalapa” he said
Despite the upgrading of the way “Tapalapa” is processed and regular inspection by health officials people around still don’t patronize his business as he expects.
Positive attitude can boost local industries
“Negative consumer behaviour has psychological impact on the producers as they become stress, frustrated and to and extend put them out of business. People should revise this attitude by consuming local products and encourage local industries as their contribution is immeasurable to the socio-economic development the Gambia ,” says Dr Sidibeh.