Alcohol consumption goes up in Zimbabwe




Woman posing with several beer glasses

HARARE – Psychologists and mental health experts have warned people against alcohol abuse during the Covid-19 induced lockdown period, amid revelations of a rise in beer consumption despite bars and beerhalls being closed.

People who spoke to ZBC News reflected on how the lockdown has affected their drinking habits to deal with idle time.

The latest 2020 trading update released by one of the country’s beverages giant Delta seems to confirm these sentiments.

For the nine months ending 30 September 2020, the company registered a 20 percent growth in beer volumes compared to same period the prior year while sales volumes for the three months ending  31 December 2020 surged by a hefty 48 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

This impressive performance happened whilst all drinking spots were closed to curb the spread of Covid-19, save for supermarket purchases for home consumption.

Psychologists Dr Lazarus Kajawu and Dr Debra Machando say increased alcohol consumption during the lockdown period is not unique to Zimbabwe.

“It’s very true that there is a trend whereby people are finding haven in drinking beer because they find alcohol as an escape route,” said Dr Kajawu.

“The lockdowns have caused some psycho-social challenges, including depression and stress. However, there is a real danger of increased alcoholism where people find themselves idle,” Dr Machando explained.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has had to grapple with sprouting illegal beer outlets in various neighborhoods across the country as part of enforcing compliance with set lockdown measures meant to curb the spread of Covid-19. – ZBC