The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project launched the Hrana Gurmana campaign in July 2020 to promote local producers of high-quality food and natural cosmetics and help them cope with the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though buying local products is now more important than ever, consumption of quality local products will remain an important factor of economic development, stability, and employment.
Progress is an effort that requires common goals and the readiness to stick to them. Yet, those gaols sometimes get obscured as people stop seeing the big picture; buying imported rather than local quality products is bad for the economy.
It is also important to remember that domestic producers of high-quality food who strive to put healthy and tasty food on local tables depend on the loyalty of domestic customers, and here are the five reasons why we should buy quality local products.
1) Buying from locals creates new jobs.
Local prosperity is not only about the flow of money and goods. It is also about new jobs. The more one buys from local food producers and sellers, the more they expand their businesses and need more workers to meet the demand. As a result, they offer jobs to other people in their community and provide them with a steady income.
2) Buying locally contributes to your and the wellbeing of your community.
Despite its individual nature, the prosperity of a person who produces and sells food is an expanding pie everyone gets a piece of. In addition to being employers, each local producer and seller will reinvest at least a portion of their earnings in the local community, either directly or through taxes. They will buy from other local or domestic businesses you work for and added value generated in the community will continue to grow.
3) Buying locally means keeping the macroeconomy healthy.
Locally produced food is a "domestic product" par excellence. Moving beyond the community level, spending money on domestic products prevents valuable funds from bleeding out of the country. Unfortunately, as evident from the BiH International Trade in Goods Statistics published by the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 2020, BiH imports more food than it exports. The trade deficit goes from double when it comes to dairy products and eggs to 20-fold when it comes to sugar, sugar products, and honey. According to those statistics, the overall trade deficit in the first eleven months of 2020 was BAM 5.8 billion, i.e. BiH imports were 61 percent higher than its exports.
4) Buying locally means that you get to know what you eat.
The importance of maintaining a healthy diet cannot be overstated, and locally produced food is the star of these efforts. The reason is simple. Each time you buy food from a local farmer you foster a relationship built on trust and farmers simply cannot afford to jeopardize it by trying to sell you the food of poor quality. You can even turn local producers into your friends and ask them to recommend and introduce products based on your taste and needs.
5) Buying local food fosters healthy competition that spurs product diversity.
Buying locally keeps the economy more dynamic as food producers have to compete with prices and quality. Healthy competition of this type means that buyers get easier access to quality food, the range of available products grows wider, and food becomes more affordable and of greater quality.
All said and done, these reasons clearly point to the need to pay more attention to the local food producers and sellers, be those at green markets or food stores. Despite them being less visible, keeping local producers in business plays a more important role in the life of the community and its members than the mere provisioning of food.
As Hrana Gurmana continues promoting local producers, you are invited to give local producers a chance, buy some of their products, and contribute to strengthening our economy and job creation in food and other industries.