|Posted by Asitha G Punchihewa on March 15, 2018 at 6:55 AM|
Unseen side of State Sponsored Beer Promotion
By Asitha G Punchihewa
Anti- intoxicant national policies since mid-2000s have been attractive. Only the anti-tobacco campaign has yielded considerable achievements and attempts to ban the production, sales, consumption of cigarettes is appreciable. However promotion of alcohol, heroin, diverse varieties of pills and cannabis is quite visible.
In spite of concentrating on mathata thitha (stop intoxicants) the regimes were evidently dependent on drug traffickers. We should not undermine the how efforts of the large scale corporations that produce intoxicants and their in the modern era of good-governance contradict the anti intoxicant stance of the people. Conventional and unconventional media portrays only a few politicians who have connections with the intoxicant trade, but the awareness on the trans national corporations that strategically use corrupt politicians. Keeping people unaware through crippling channels of information is another strategy adopted by the same corporations who are into continuous expansion of market avenues.
The influence of trans national corporations on formulation of anti- intoxicant policy is as evident in policy dialogue on agriculture is represented by agrochemical corporations, policy dialogue on health is represented by pharmaceutical corporations, policy dialogue on education is represented by education corporations, policy dialogue on agriculture is represented by agrochemical corporations, policy dialogue on agriculture is represented by agrochemical corporations. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a national policy that safeguards interests of corporations rather than the aspirations of the people just as in the agriculture, health, education sectors. Despite the extravagant slogans of successive executive presidents, pro corporate national policies progress in express mode. Though the public see the recent reduction of price of alcohol acrimoniously, it is a sweet dream coming true for politicians who are benefitted from corporations and for people who slander them while having a drink.
Government’s argument was that reducing the price of beer would lead to creating less demand for kasippu, the local illegal brew. That argument has no scientific basis and an evidence base is a fascinating hypothesis for uneducated politicians and stupid boozers but for someone with some intellect, the argument is gross than hilarious. A Blu- Green leadership heading such a bunch of ministers is hilarious than gross.
It is a fact that the evidence base to promote intoxicants is also created through investments done by intoxicant manufacturers. It is a tiny part of a finely knit well organized large scale programme.
On the 15th October 2014, the International Centre for Alcohol Policy (ICAP) and the Global Alcohol Production Group (GAPG) jointly announced that Anne keeling has been appointed the executive director of ICAP-GAPG and that the combined entity will be called the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD). The objectives of the organization included conducting research, programmes and workshops, advocacy to reduce harmful drinking and to promote responsible drinking. The goals that were set are as follows.
1. Multi Year policies- Reduce the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% by end of 2020 and to implement the best practices globally by end of 2025.
2. Social Norms- Influence social norms and individual behaviors to reduce harmful alcohol use by investing at least 1 biullion USD across our markets in dedicates social marketing campaigns and related programmes by the end of 2025.
3. Product portfolio- Ensure no or lower alcohol beer products represent at least 20% of AB InBevs global beer volume by the end of 2025.
4. Alcohol health literacy- Place a guidance label on all of our beer products in all of our markets by the end of 2020. Increase alcohol health literacy by the end of 2025.
During the 1980- 2014 period, the number of global corporations producing alcohol has reduced from 27 to 8. Though this trend appears to be a good trend, what actually has happened are merger of corporations to form larger conglomerates and groups that are more organized and strategic.
The strategic nature has become visible in some of the African states that adopted new policies on alcohol that include the following exact statement “The government will encourage active participation by all levels of the beverage alcohol industry as a key partner in the policy formulation and implementation process”.
The alcohol promotion programmes hailed by the government of Sri Lanka at present are no different from the process that was followed in Africa. People out-voted the previous government as it was unable to stand by the people and gave way for good governance and the very word good governance is being abused maliciously.
We have to identify the self proclaimed greatnesses who were born and bred here, enjoyed free education, free health and public services but operated against the country and nurture foreign corporations for self greed. We have to get ourselves organized not only to remove these people from national and local politics, but to give them the place in society that they deserve.