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- Illicit alcohol
Every year countless numbers of Africans risk their health and their lives drinking illegal alcohol. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that about half of all the alcohol drunk in sub-Saharan Africa is prodiced illegally. In Africa the "informal" brewing market is believed to be three to five times the value of the beer market and worth an estimated $ 3 billion per year.
The "informal" alcoholic beverages are generally of dubious quality and made up of inferior raw materials. The alcohol levels are significantly higher than that of beer (up to 40%) and hold potential health risks for the consumers. The products in this sector typically retail at less than 50% of the commercial beer price, driven largely by the use of low cost / low quality raw materials and the fact that they largely escape the tax net (lost revenue source to Government), creating an "un-level playing field" for competitive products such as beer.
Rural consumers are affected disproportionately since they lack the disposable income of their metropolitan counterparts and are therefore a lot more price sensitive, they also have more choices in the informal alcohol market, particularly in homebrews and cheap distillates.
The social problems associated with the illicit alcohol market have been highlighted across Africa and have led to several African governments focusing on discouraging the informal alcohol trade.
For most consumers of alcohol in Africa beer is an aspirational product becasue of the high levels of imported raw materials which add to costs and negatively affect the affordability. Due to this the thrivingillicit alcohol market keeps growing, with its attendant social problems. DADTCO together with SABMiller is onvolved in cooperative initiatives with African governments to use affordable, regulated beer made from locally sourced raw materials as a means to draw consumers away from frequent consumption of often dangerous, unhygenic, unregulated and high alcohol level illicit spirits with a safer alternative produced under controlled conditions.
Cassava is an ideal local crop for this because of its widespread distribution in Africa and its strong links with smallholder farmers.