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Plastic Rice Controversy Threatens Unity Of Cameroon Employers’ Union

Douala (National Times)-The unity of the Cameroon Employers’ Union known by its French acronym as GICAM has gone shaky after one of its members; Africa Food Manufacture (AFM) announced its decision to quit the conglomerate of enterprises for lack of support in the face of a campaign against the quality of certain brands of rice on the market.

On January 8, the General Administrator of AFM, Evariste Helle, addressed a correspondence to GICAM stating that it was quitting the employers’ Union for lack of support in the face of the challenges it faced recently.

According to the correspondence, the AFM is not comfortable with the silence of GICAM in the face of what it terms a campaign of defamation at certain quarters against the quality of products it has on the market.

The AFM maintains that the authors of the campaign against its brand of rice are ‘bad losers’, who have a hidden agenda of instituting a quasi monopoly on the Cameroonian market.

It argues that the Cameroonian economy gives consumers the right to choose what they consume but some people are against that freedom.

The disgruntled company asserts that GICAM’s silence in the face of the campaign against it shows that the interest of some 600 AFM employees and the company itself is no longer guaranteed within the grouping.

It concludes that based on such precedence, the AFM is withdrawing from GICAM.

In reaction to the withdrawal, the Executive Secretary of GICAM, Alain Blaise Batongue, fired back to the AFM stating that at the  time of the campaign against the company, it did not seek GICAM’s support.

Batongue said, GICAM was comfortable with the prompt reaction of the Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Atangana to handle  the plastic rice controversy, reason it did not bother.

The GICAM Executive Scribe argues that at the same time, AFM had taken the necessary legal actions to redeem its image.

After enumerating a series of interventions GICAM has done for the company in times past, Batongue surmises that the employers’ Union remains open for further discussion. Batongue wants AFM to reconsider its decision without fear.

The controversy over the circulation plastic rice of marks Broli and Armanti surfaced in Cameroon during the festive period of 2018.

In reaction, the Minister of Trade summoned a meeting on January 3 in Yaoundé. After the meeting, the Minister concluded that, there was no such rice in circulation.

Besides, the concerned company had initiated legal action against politician, Jean Marc Ngoss and Delor Margelan Kamseu, President of the Cameroon Consumers’ League (CCL). The AFM is accusing Ngoss and Kamseu of defaming its rice brands through social media campaigns.


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