Imported products pose challenge for local manufacturers

A young entrepreneur with local products

Competition from imported products are said to be the biggest challenge facing Dominican manufacturers and if this situation is allowed to continue, the country will plunge down a fiscal precipice.

That’s the warning from Severin Mc Kenzie, PRO of Dominica Manufacturers Association (DMA). He spoke at a press briefing on Friday.

“Dominican Manufacturers are experiencing many challenges, but the most significant is the competition from imported products. With an undeveloped manufacturing sector, Dominican manufacturers operate at a disadvantage when compared to their counterparts in the OECS and not to mention the wider CARICOM region,” McKenzie said.

According to him, lack of fiscal support for manufacturing is resulting in huge stock piles and significant reduction in production capacity for Dominican manufacturers.

“Manufacturers are stock piling large inventories of finished products and or producing below 50 percent of their full capacity, simply because imported products are given more prominence on the market and the fiscal support required to encourage the manufacturing  industry is not forth coming,” he pointed out.

DMA and Dominica Arts and Craft Producers Association (DACPA), are calling on Dominicans to buy locally made products.

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  1. joan
    December 9, 2012

    I find Bello’s pepersauce on the shelves in N.y wish I could find D.A.’s coc onut water,coconut oil breadnuts in cans,sliced breadfruit,yams etc. The Govt. should subsidy Bello’s they have been in business for long time this would allow then to expand and shipping more products overseas and hence hiring more and producing more products .allthis would create assisting the farmers to sell .

    • Malgraysa
      December 10, 2012

      Joan, if we have to subsidise our manufacturers, who is oing to foot the bill? The idea is that they contribute to the GDP, not costing us money. You may as well not bother in th first place and save yourself a headache in the process.

  2. Playing area unlevel
    December 9, 2012

    This Nature Isle of Dominica is doomed. Just check the unpatriotic and asinine comments made on the topic. What incentives have the DLP Govt. given to local manufacturers? 15% VAT on non-value added and Value-added goods? 15% VAT on services? No grace period for locals. Before a local business could set up, tax and more tax.

    Opening of the Dominican market for inferior goods from China and other places? But the blame is ditched out heavily on local manufacturers, but not the incompetence and inefficiencies of Govt. Govt. has failed to put in place the enabling environment to encourage local business. Add to that the economic woes we are facing.

    The standard of living has decreased 100-fold. Chinese businesses swamp Roseau, putting locals out of business with cheaper, inferior goods. Geothermal project in foreign hands. Electricity in foreign hands. Our best lands are being bought by foreigners day in, day out. Agriculture neglected. Production is at its lowest. All thanks to you all know whom.

    Meanwhile a few are enriching themselves Big Time. Of course, things are in place, offices overseas to sell our passports for a few to make millions. Nothing but stress and pressure and increased poverty. Who cares?

  3. Anonymous
    December 9, 2012

    It’s all in a marketing strategy, especially packaging. Why don’t the ones for the local market have a little Dominican flag… that way people know right off it’s made in Dominica.

  4. Laughloud
    December 9, 2012

    I am all for buying local but gone are the days when Dominicans could go to the market with a basket and smile on their way out. Food is very expensive, availability is at an all time minimum, and “fighting” with vendors for their product is really not worth it. It is easier to just go to the supermarkets.

    Don’t let me begin the discussion on why we are paying so much for bottle flavoured water when we have fruits here in abundance? Why we can get energy drinks into the Nature isle for under 30% while fruit drinks are over 100%?
    While the cost of food is increasing, the wages of civil servants have not moved. Don’t get me started here…

  5. Good-to-go
    December 8, 2012

    Sev my friend, I laud your efforts to manufacture a product in Dominica but you have to move past the “Buy Local” mantra my friend.

    Ensure that you produce a top quality product at a reasonable price and you good-to-go. And the bench mark for quality and price is what is on the world market my friend.

    Let us be frank, why should a Dominican consumer buy your product if (and I am saying IF) the quality and the price of the imported product beats yours? And don’t underestimate the consumers because they spot value for money very quickly. Because at the end of the day, you do not share your profits with the loyal Dominican consumers who stick with your products.

    And I encourage Dominicans to support local because it gives you a sense of pride to know that a product is made in your country, you support local jobs and the local economy. But these are political arguments for the politically conscious consumer.

    In the end the majority of the consumers will buy local products if it makes good consumer sense to do so (quality and price).

    So my friend you need to move on the front of ensuring that your quality is top notch (invest in machinery and technical know-how and amortise your cost over the useful life of your investment; don’t expect to see returns right away.

    This is the way to go my friend. A buy local campaign once in a while can’t do you any harm. But you can not over-rely on this strategy; The key to success is to ensure that you provide the consumers with a quality product at a competitive price.

  6. Local
    December 8, 2012

    They what to supply us with local products, but can they match the quality and the quantity that we get from foreign countries. Some local products are just not worth the bother. For instance, when I cook local potatoes, they get swamped with water. Why does that happen? Help!

    • Irie
      December 10, 2012

      Maybe you cooking them too long?

  7. anonymous2
    December 8, 2012

    Would you list the producers and products and where they are sold so that people can buy them?

  8. Wendy
    December 8, 2012

    Mackenzie should realize that de kind of doll rolls of toilet paper he is selling is de reason y people will buy on oversea. Local should not mean inferior

  9. Anonymous
    December 8, 2012

    Manufacturing costs here are so much higher than the other caricom countries that by the time it gets to our shores the sales prices are still relatively cheaper. This is just too bad. We need to give our local manufactures a break man and chance to survive. If they can produce cheaply they can sell cheaply. Only way we customers will be able to buy.

  10. just a suggestion
    December 8, 2012

    In an ideal world we would all buy local but family of 5 paying EC$5-6 for 5 small carrots would be spending EC$35+ a week just on carrots alone. we are governed by the dollars in our pockets and the demands of our families. That dollar does not just buy one product it has to stretch to buy several items, unfortunately,if the price is not right ‘local’ sometimes loses out. We can’t just say buy local, it has to be affordable and comparable and we will.

  11. R
    December 8, 2012

    MArketing! Because your product is on the shelve does not mean I am going to buy it. Dominican Manufacturers need to sell and wait for customers to buy.

    Develop and Marketing strategy. Mr. Mc Kenzie, what are you say? We have to learn how to compete and stop claiming that we can’t. For too long we in Dominica fail. We fail because we don’t compete. Yes we can compete. Put strategies in place.

    Get the Dominican Consumer to first try products, get them to love it, and earn their loyalty.

    Manufacturing products without “winning” marketing strategies in Dumb Dumb Dumb!

    • Anonymous
      December 10, 2012

      A successful marketing campaign hinges on several factors including the right price and right quality and these two factors in particular, partially fall under the portfolio of government as Government policies influence cost of operations and competitive access to raw materials.

  12. out of south city
    December 7, 2012

    It is so obvious that imported goods will always cause competition with locally grown produce. This should never be a problem in Dominica. The farmers should be at the forefront with their produce, which is healthier to eat than all these imported foods with are filled with sugar and salt and taking a toll on people’s lives, causing diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. We need to rethink as a people because if we don’t we will continue to suffer and die due to ignorance.

  13. Miss Chief
    December 7, 2012

    @ DMA…. :-? …I looked for your web presence but was directed to facebook :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: ….if you are serious about selling worldwide…please make your own website….Thanks…. :wink: ….Anyway.. “fiscal precipice”….. :?: :?: ..gimme a break.. :oops:

  14. right-on
    December 7, 2012

    people it’s all about presentation……some of the most horrible tasting things in the world find markets because of the way that they appear to others. now in order for us to captivate the eye of the consumer, whether they be local, regional, or international..we must take into consideration the packaging of our products and when i point out to packaging, i am indeed making reference to the presentation. our products are of undoubtedly supreme nutritional value….but as i would reiterate myself…without the proper presentation channels…then we would still remain with improper product marketing and thus the financial deficit continues to exist.

  15. Malatete
    December 7, 2012

    It is the consumers’ choice to spend their money where, and how they see fit and if local manufacturers want a share of that they must be competitive, not only in price but also quality, availability and service. It is unsound business practice to build up stock of goods for which there is no immediate market as this only ties up precious capital and all but dries up cash-flow. Mr. McKenzie did not go into manufacturing blindly, at least I hope not and did receive sound advice and concessions from the likes of Invest Dominica and I have little sympathy on that score. In the past we applied protective duties to safeguard our local industries such as plastic shoes, candles and pasta but to no avail. These industries have long since gone but the duties remain to no benefit of the consumer.

  16. ideal
    December 7, 2012

    we should buy locale from our own people, not them
    rubbisH that coming in our country, full with lead and unknown substances, >>>BUY LOCALE

    • Malgraysa
      December 9, 2012

      Brother, you have a choice. I would not want to be dictated as to who’s product I should buy.

  17. new york
    December 7, 2012

    well u have to sell it a good price

    • Annon
      December 8, 2012

      Larger mfgrs will always beat us with lower prices, it’s a given. So this assoc. just has to get creative, come together as they are starting to do and brainstorm, create occasional media blitzes, reduce price of some older stock piles etc… to get their products on store shelves.
      Their work is always cut out for them, but it can be done with perseverance.

  18. Jayson
    December 7, 2012

    Any local business place that manufactures a quality product, and i need it, I’ll buy it. It has to be of a decent quality. Money these days is too hard to come by and i can’t see myself buying sub-standard merchandise just because it’s ‘locally’ made.

  19. December 7, 2012

    We really want to but the goods and support local but they are too expensive. The other competitors have their stuff cheaper and in greater quantity. Dominican manufactures must try to be more competetive.

  20. xxx
    December 7, 2012

    Local is better, after all it’s natural, and probably much cheaper than the products that are sold in the stores. I would encourage the people of Dominica to buy products that are made from Dominica. That’s also how business grows.

  21. 4progress
    December 7, 2012

    PRODUCERS follow these suggested steps relating to The Marketing Mix – the 7 Ps:

    Consider branding, material sourcing, expert advice and so on

    PM..please review tariffs on imports. Products in their infancy need to be protected to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, thus creating more wealth, employment and investment.

    PEOPLE…Give constructive advice to producers regarding products/service to help with development.


    December 7, 2012


  23. BiGmE
    December 7, 2012

    Increase the price on imported goods and reduced the price on local problem solved. When everything on a rise I am going to look for the most affordable product give local manufacture intensives so they can product more affordable products. this is simple logic how hard can that get?

  24. waitukubuli-original
    December 7, 2012

    That’s basic business knowledge

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