(Business in Cameroon) - On January 1st, 2017, a huge fire broke out at Société camerounaise de fermentation (FERMENCAM), pioneer and leader of Cameroon’s sachet whiskeys market, burning its main warehouses, official sources revealed.
The numerous flammable products in the warehouses of this firm whose assets are owned by the Cameroonian billionaire Samuel Foyou, have caused the spread of the fire to eight neighboring houses, and a school.
The disaster having occurred on the new-year's day in the absence of employees which were at home, only important property damages were sustained.
Located in Bonabéri, Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, FERMENCAM has become the symbol of the democratization of whiskey in Cameroon, producing affordable whiskey sachets.
This innovation (emulated by at least two other companies), which helps the company realize turnover averaging CFA12 billion at times (in 2013 for example), was so much welcomed by consumers to the extent that it sort of became a social scourge in Cameroon.
In a joint decree signed on September 12, 2014 by the ministers of health; trade and industry, the production and commercialization of sachet whiskeys was banned and only bottled spirits were allowed.
However, strangely, the decree which gave sellers of the banned product 24 months to sell all their stocks seems to have fallen in deaf ears as more than a year after this deadline, sachet whiskeys are still sold across the country.
Brice R. Mbodiam