By Giwa SHILE
Discussants at the ongoing 2nd International Drink Festival on Thursday in Lagos called for a policy that would make the locally-brewed Palm Wine an internationally recognised drink.
The panelist said that the indigenous Palm Wine was a unifying drink available to all the ethnic groups in Nigeria.
An investor, Nelson Jack, said that it was time for the country to identify with its own brand of drink which is readily available in Palm Wine.
“We need to recognise our own local drink and promote it. Palm Wine remains a symbol for every ethnic group in Nigeria. It can be found everywhere.
“It is true that Palm Wine can be found in other countries, but, it is a drink that is more popular among Nigerians.
“If the drink is not available at the international market, that is our own problem.
“We should know that others will not come and do what we should by ourselves; we need to promote our own indigenous drink andpackage it to meet international standard.
“We can repackage this drink for export, because some Nigerians living in Dubai still crave for Palm Wine; why can’t we research and repackage this drink for export,’’ he said.
Jack said that other locally produce drinks such as the popular “Kunnu” and “Zobo” can also make international shelve if well packaged.
“ They are important drinks to us and are also medicinal.
“We have the best natural drinks in Africa; but we are not pushing them.
“We only rely on foreign drinks which are not good for our health because most them are full of preservatives.
“What we need to do now is to make efforts at researches to enhance ourindigeour drinks for international shelve.”
Jack appealed to the government to support the idea.
The Area Manager, South/East Nigeria of Moet Hennessey, Catherine Equere, said that foreign drinks seemed to have dominated the nation’s markets.
She,however, said that the indigenous drinks could compete favourably with them if they were well brewed and packaged .
“We have to create a mindset first, and then we see how the indigenous drinks can be promoted.
“This is because some of the ingredients used in brewing most foreign drinks are also peculiar to them.
“For Africa and Nigeria, some of the ingredients for the drink are also peculiar; so what we need to do is to up our game and make these drinks available at the international markets.
“Locally-brewed drinks are not in any way inferior to the foreign drinks, it is a matter of perspectives and marketing.
“There should be a change of orientation and efforts intensified by our governments to make our indigenous drinks accepted internationally,’’ she said