Why do people prefer imported food rather than their locally farm produce?

People in Ghana prefer foreign food than their locally farm produce. When you come to Ghana, food crops like rice and even vegetables like tomatoes that are imported are highly patronized than those that are farmed in the country. Mean while we won’t know the chemicals content of the imported food. Why is this so?

Thanks ChugPope about this topic I think most people refer to this as style, eating food we don’t produce home and to me I think we need to eat food that we relate to i.e have its traditional name and know its agronomy. We know how its traditionally prepared among others.

Let me chime in here. People prefer foreign foods or cuisine for severl reasons; to try new things, they may view these foods as exotic. But unfortunately i must say that nutritional considerations are usually not a factor. The other reason that may in the interest and higher consumption of foreign foods is how much better they are marketed and could be even cheaper. However, they may not always be well labelled to show the ingredients and nutrient content if processed. And that is part of he biggest challenge as many of them may contain high level of fat, sugar and salt. Our local African traditional foods that are wholesome and least processed reamin the best options. So we must endevour to grow more, make them available and add value to enhance them, and market them well. More importantly we must teach our youth to be proud of their culinary heritage through good examples of purchasing, preparing and eating local foods in more diverse ways in our homes.

I thank you ChugPope for raising the concern about imported food as being liked more by the Ghanians than their locally produced food.

To me, it may be lifestyle whereby working class people, middle-income earners and those who generally have income want to associate themselves with high class. They think when one buys imported food, can be of a certain class.

Secondly, some of the categories of people i have mentioned above think imported food is clean, therefore it is the best for their health not knowing that the locally produced food is more fresh, more nutritious and cheap.

I may not know Ghana’s food production, but if Ghana lacks variety of food stuffs and yet there is an inlet of many food types from other countries that are really tasty and more nutritious, then people will always try buying them to have a change.

Hallo Folks,

It is interesting that this thing happens and at times unknowingly. In Kenya, it is the trend. From foods, clothes to footwear, it is seen as a way of modernization. The foods we import, of course goes through several processes and most of it is laden with chemicals and other detergents. Such foods are not healthy to the body. Instead of providing the expected nutrients, they discharge toxic substances which counter reacts to the body’s immune system. The secret from manufacturers is to make these products as eye-catching and tempting as possible. Many people in Africa look down at what they manufacture and feel what comes from Europe is the best. We have gone to the extent of consuming reactants believing that we are getting the best. We need to upscale our production and the manufacturing sector and make it more sufficient. We need to put more focus on traditional foods and carry out campaigns on how to produce more. Lack of the foods is another factor that forces governments to import to curb deficits.

Hi ChugPope. I am very happy you raised this issue. I think many Ghanaians prefer imported foods to local ones because of how they (foreign foods) are promoted in the media and packaged. Many of these foods do not taste good to me though. The economic part of this habit is that the excessive preference for these foreign foods is killing our local agro-industries.

The popular notion is that ‘anything foreign is good’ which is not helping.

Nevertheless, our local farmers can also make their produce better by adopting good packaging techniques to make their produce more appealing.

Hi smawerere. I am a Ghanaian and wish to comment on a few things you have mentioned. First of all, you made mention of the fact that locally produced foods are ‘cheap’ which I think is not always the case. Some of the imported foodstuff are cheaper. This is mainly because most of the advanced countries have support systems for farmers by providing them with subsidies which farmers in Ghana do not have. This by all means puts the latter at a disadvantage. In this situation we can understand that the farmer in the developing country will have his produce inevitably cheaper than the former.

Ghana is not living in scarcity of food. The preference for imported food rather than locally produces ones is as a result of many factors including what you mentioned earlier- [changing] lifestyle- where people think increase in income must also result in eating ‘classy’ food.

I hope my comment is helpful. Cheers


Thank you for your submission on people’s preference for imported food rather than the locally produced food. I think your comment is helpful. However, as a communicator i cannot wholesomely say with confidence or confirm what i am not sure to say; Reason you see my language containing words like; may be, if, etc…meaning there is doubt or not knowing. So i did not confirm…check the language i used Mark. You have also indicated that some of the imported food stuffs are cheaper as compared to the locally produced food. You mean this’s the situation in Ghana? If so, then Chugpope’s question: Why do people prefer imported food rather than their locally farm produce- is partly answered. Secondly, i did not ask if Ghana is living in food scarcity, i said if Ghana lacks food variety or varieties, then people may be attracted to having a taste of other imported varieties that they do not have.For example Uganda has got variety of food stuffs-i think over 20 varieties.

Hope my contribution is helpful too.


I get your point now. Indeed your contribution is very helpful.

Thanks for the clarification.

Hello Mark.

Thank you for the contribution and i think we are really learning a lot from one another. It is a good platform.


Of course. It is a great opportunity to learn and share.

I think preference of imported to local foods is mainly due to variability in product quality. Take a look at Pakistan Rice and local rice from One of the rice growing regions in Uganda, assess the %age purity, look at %of broken grain, look at the color, Most often not appealing to middle class consumers. This has over a time proliferated the mental model “foreign food is better than local. Even within Uganda, people with go for the processed food brought from the city though raw material came from local areas. They will pay higher prices. Try this; Get two exactly identical packets of bread, rebrand with : made in Kagadi Kibaale Uganda” and an other “made in the Netherlands” put in local kiosk or supermarket and measure rate of sales. trust me you will be greatly amazed.

Wow. Interesting contribution. Advanced technology and subsidy can be a major contributing factor to this ‘…variability in product quality’. Thank you tumchaz34

@mwamodo your observations are interesting. But I think that people in Kenya prefer food from outside not really for exotic reasons for the reason that its cheaper than locally produced and processed foods. Take a look at the ongoing debates about sugar, tomatoes, oranges, rice etc, you realise that those imported tend to be cheaper than the local varieties. This is on one part due to heavy taxes that the government has imposed on the one hand, and poorly developed infrastructure that does not aid production and marketing of local products.

I think the preference for imported and local food is different according to these factor:

  1. Type of food
  2. Location (urban/rural)
  3. Season
  4. “Class” of people

Now let me explain, the type of food indicates that some food stuffs are not produced locally, are not available throughout the year because we are unable to process and preserve.
The location means either of urban or rural people prefer foreign or local food . In my opinion, there are some foods(foreign or local) preferred by urban or rural people because of availability.
Season means that some local food are in abundant or less according to the farming season.
‘Class’ of people will mean working or other classes.

I just don’t have much time to detail the explaination, these is just a summary of my thoughts.