Some producers of sachet whiskey in Cameroon have hit back against media reports suggesting that they cease production in accordance with government directives. A collective of seven different production enterprises in a January 19, 2023 release on Cameroon Tribune, said the news is a move by their detractors.
“… Since December 2022 here has been a strong disinformation campaign on bagged whiskeys, a campaign led by certain activists of another kind, through local action with sellers and consumers and though social networks and media,” a portion of the document read.
The said campaign, the collective went on, contains “unsubstantiated information on the quality of the products and … is likely to discredit a prosperous sector of activity which benefits from the multifaceted support of authorities … and administrative compliance”
The enterprises in their release, pledged to take legal action against the authors of the said campaign, citing its adverse effects on their products.
Government plays Judas?
The seven enterprises in their release, admitted the use of satchets to contain their products had indeed come under review, but said government had given them a long rope to pull. They cited an October 31, 2022 joint ministerial order by the Ministries of Mines Industries &Technological Development, Trade, and Public Health.
The said order “granted legal companies established monitored and engaged in the migration process, an additional period of 04 years from December 18, 2022 for the finalisation of the migration from the packaging of bagged whiskeys toward packaging in bottles in all forms.”
“With the current state of the Regulations, the production and marketing of our products benefits of the anointing of government until the end of the new moratorium. This deadline is not being focused on issues of product quality but rather on linking to packaging,” they remarked.
The enterprises also stressed that their products undergo regular checks and necessary analyses by the competent authorities before they are put up for consumption
But the fight against the products, is not rooted in quality alone. The consumption of sachet whiskeys has been highly criticised by environmental advocates and health personnel alike, for their adverse effects on health and society at large.
In 2014, government announced a gradual end to the products, following the outcome of a research conducted by the Quality Regulatory Agency. Among others, it cited the unhealthy levels of methyl alcohol in the products and the risks it poses to the human body.
In order to accompany the production enterprises out of the market, the ministries concerned accorded them a two-year moratorium within which they were expected to halt production. Close to 10 years later, the products still flood markets, and the government, has accorded the companies concerned, “… an additional period of 04 years … for the finalization of the migration from the packaging of bagged whiskeys toward packaging in bottles in all forms.”
Poise News Desk