By Sam Hart
As you all are aware, to the glory of God and the benevolence of the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, I have been appointed the Director-General of the Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency.
The question that a lot of you have been asking is what does this entail and what will the agency be doing?
I have therefore set out some short, medium and long-term deliverables so that as the Bible implores us, write the vision down, make it plain. That all who see it may run with it.
If any of the listed plans fits into your line of service or interest, then lets talk.
Abia State Marketing and Quality Management Agency.
Our core mandate is summarily two-fold.
1. Expanding existing markets and finding new markets for all goods produced in Abia State.
2. Outlining and enforcing quality standards for all goods produced in Abia State.
Pursuant to our mandates, we will be engaged in the following activities.
- We will serve as aggregators for producers & traders based in Abia State so if you need a product or service from Abia State, we will get it for you & deliver to you. If you are also a producer in Abia State and you need to reach new markets, talk to us, we will find you new markets for your products.
- We are compiling a comprehensive Yellow Page of Producers of different products in Abia State. We will have an online version and hard copy so you know who produces what. We will provide their contacts and addresses in the event that you prefer dealing with them directly. While this Yellow page will be available online, hard copies will also be available at our #MadeInAbia Shops nationwide for those who prefer hard copy.
- We will open #MadeInAbia Shops in major cities in Nigeria and beyond to serve as walk-in purchase shops for our products & pick up points for goods ordered from us or directly from producers in Abia State. We have secured Offices/Shops in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. More on the way.
- We will also have #MadeInAbia shops at airports nationwide so you can walk in and pick up your garments, fabrics, shoes, bags, belts, etc all #MadeInAbia. We will launch 2 before the end of the year.
- These #MadeInAbia Shops will serve as outlet offices for producers in Abia State. Samples of designs from our producers like Fadamasi, Cloth Planet, Chibueze Richard Ikwechegh, Shoe Planet, Chuma Ogbonnia, T David Apparels, Fab Que, Toskyme, De Great, Destiny Shoes, Akwette, Gin from Ukwa, Cashews, etc will be available at these shops and those who are interested will be given contacts to discuss directly with the producers.
- We are setting up a robust e-commerce platform so you can order goods produced in Abia State online from wherever you are & pick it up from any of our #MadeInAbia shops closest to you. You don’t have to come to Abia State to purchase goods #MadeInAbia anymore.
- We will introduce appropriate packaging services for goods originating from Abia State so that what you receive is attractive & classy and matches the product inside the package. Yes. Some people get put off by the package their order arrives in.
- We will go to the hinterlands & buy up agro products produced by our farmers including but not limited to Rice and resell it in the cities of Abia State and beyond. That way, our farmers are guaranteed off take of their products which increases productivity & profitability.
- We will enter into partnership with Abia Line and other interested logistics companies to help deliver #MadeInAbia goods to different locations.
- We are providing Trade Insurance Services where you pay to us for goods ordered in Abia State & the money only goes to the producer upon your satisfaction with the product after delivery. 100% guaranteed cash back if product does not meet your specifications.
- We will guarantee the quality standards of goods produced in Abia State. We will not ship to you goods that do not meet our own quality specifications not to even talk of yours. If it comes from Abia State, then it has passed minimum quality checks.
- We will pay periodic, unscheduled visits to producers to ensure that minimum standards of production are being observed with attention to safety, non-usage of minors, usage of quality raw materials and other global best practices.
- We will facilitate easier payment platforms for goods and services in Abia State. We already have an MOUs from Sterling Bank Plc and from Orobo Payment Platform promoted by Socketworks. More of such vendors are making enquiries and we will have meetings with them when we are properly settled.
- We will establish & maintain a robust relationship with Federal Agencies that engage in Standardization, Trade Facilitation and market access so we can get the best deals available for #MadeInAbia producers. I have already met with the Leadership of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and they are excited to work with us.
- We will also work with multilateral organisations, NGOs, Foundations and the likes desirous of supporting our producers to create new opportunities for them.
- We will sign up with existing online platforms selling products to place #MadeInAbia products on their site while we work on our own robust online platform. We are in discussion with a few already. More are welcome.
- You already know of a number of products #MadeInAbia chiefly leather & garments but we are much more than that. We have the Unique Akwette fabric produced in Akwette. Premium Gin produced in Ukwa, Succulent Cashew in Umunneochi/Uturu, Rice in Bende/Isuikwuato, high grade palms & cassava, etc. We’ll sell them.
Goes without saying, inputs, suggestions, tips welcome.
This is not exhaustive. More will be added as we unfold.
We just started hence a lot of ‘we will’. By December, a lot of these initiatives will be running fully.
So help us God.
Sam Hart, Esq.
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