Makro, which is owned by Massmart. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Makro, which is owned by Massmart. Picture: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Economic development minister Ebrahim Patel has applauded retailer Massmart’s programme to procure products from small, local suppliers, which has reached the R1bn mark.

The Massmart supplier development programme was established in 2012 as a condition to the Walmart-Massmart merger.

Massmart, the owner of Game, Makro and Builder’s Warehouse, said on Wednesday that it worked closely with the combined department of economic development, and trade and industry to identify new suppliers and help existing ones grow their businesses.

“We must foster greater levels of participation by small and medium businesses. The Massmart supplier development programme provides an example of the role the private sector — with government’s support — can play in bringing more South Africans into important value chains in the economy,” Patel said.

Massmart said the programme was meant to develop and increase the production scale of small, local manufacturers. The company assisted the suppliers in meeting regulatory standards, improving price competitiveness, building manufacturing capacity, and developing retail and business management expertise.

The programme currently has a portfolio of 23 small businesses manufacturing various products, such as chefwear, fuel cooking gel, instant noodles, charcoal, cooler-boxes, doors and paint.

The company said the programme’s focus is to replace products previously imported with local manufacturers.

Massmart said that of the 23 suppliers, nine also exported their products to Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Chile, France, Mozambique, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and Zambia.

Massmart shares gained 1.55% to R43.30 on Wednesday.

njobenis@businesslive.co.za