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Citizens demand ban on Hard Liquor Drinks …KADCO products on the spotlight

By Abu Bakarr Kargbo

One of the major producers of Hard Liquor Drinks in Sierra Leone, KADCO Company Sierra Leone Limited has come under some serious criticisms in recent times as the country is battling it hard to save its human capacity. A Civil Society Organization, League of Democracy Advocates (LDA) recently called on the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau and other relevant institutions to investigate KADCO Sierra Leone Company Limited, hence place a ban on all Hard Liquor Drinks, which are the major cause to the destruction of mostly young people in Sierra Leone. The Civil Society Organization, which stated that it has competed for its investigations into the activities and operations of the company said it viewed its operations as a major loss to Sierra Leone’s human capacity development, especially amongst young people. Amongst several issues raised by the Organization is that of quality assurance, for which it called on the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau to do its findings and do the needful think so that Sierra Leone’s youthful population is saved.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that drinking alcohol is associated with a risk of developing health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, major noncommunicable diseases such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions. “Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems. Other medical problems encountered include cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon,” WHO states.

“If only we are serious about fighting the Coronavirus Pandemic there is a need to place a ban on the production of Hard Liquor Drinks to keep our population active enough in fighting the global enemy,” says Ibrahim Sorie Dumbuya, LDA’s Director.

Hard Liquor Drinks in Sierra Leone are mainly manufactured in different flavors ranging from vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey, brandy, singani, and soju, all of which are examples of distilled drinks.

The World Health Organization survey indicates that an estimated 2.3 million people died worldwide of alcohol-related diseases, 2.3 million deaths accounted for 3.7% of global mortality in all ages.

In Sierra Leone, the Standards Bureau is a government agency tasked to perform the following responsibilities: Standardization; development and sale of national standards metrology; legal metrology and industrial metrology assessment; product certification scheme, testing, and inspection consultancy; and training of stakeholders on standards and quality management principles.

Whether the Bureau is yet to understand the level of damages Hard Liquor Drinks are causing on mostly young people in Sierra Leone is something to think about.

KADCO Sierra Leone Limited is owned by Indian nationals and they started operation in May 2011 but the product has been in the market since 2008.

Although a factory is producing alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks such as bitter-cola, bitter roots, energizer, and creamy, the Sierra Leone Alcohol Policy Alliance (SLAPA) is of the view that the hard drinks produced by the company are causing lots of harm on Sierra Leoneans.

SLAPA is currently taking the lead in advocating for a national policy on alcohol. There is now a growing awareness of the harm from alcohol and the need to control the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol as a result of public education and stakeholder engagement.

KADCO Management is of the view that the company is well known for producing the original bitter kola drinks and is the only distillery outfit in Sierra Leone that produces some of its beverages from well-selected plant extracts appreciated widely by the drinking public.

The Company stated that it is inspired by the call of Ex-president Koroma’s call for the private sector to lead the development path of the country and was further encouraged by the enabling environment created for investors. What is yet to be explained is as to the level of destruction some of its products are posing on its consumers. Although it claimed to be working closely with the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau and other government Ministries like Labour and Health, it has not received the blessings of the majority of the populace, which is calling for a ban on its products. Investigations continue.

 

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