Traders continue to defraud consumers with adulterated instruments despite efforts being made by trade officials
In a bid to make more money from susceptible consumers, Cameroon Tribune has observed that traders are increasingly using adulterated measuring instruments to sell their wares. Besides the measuring apparatuses not conforming to the International System of Units which Cameroon adheres to, the traders manipulate the already contentious instruments to defraud costumers. Amongst the traders wanting in professional honesty which this reporter accosted in Yaounde is Yumo Yves-Michel; a holiday maker from the West Region. The lad who sells boiled groundnuts has been playing over the intelligence of groundnut lovers by using a metallic cup which looks usual in the eyes of consumers but very unusual in its properties. The milk tin has not only been systematically trimmed at the top but the bottom has been thoroughly beaten to the extent that it has bulged inwards and reduced the volume of the container. Mballa admits the measuring instrument has been tampered with but says it is an aged-old practice, and as such he is not inventing a will. Mballa will sell a cup of groundnut for FCFA 100 but his consumers will hardly have in return the value of what they pay for. Similar measuring cups could be spotted at the Acacia market in Yaounde where petit traders sell egusi, beans, dry groundnuts, corn and other grains.
Several rounds of investigations by Cameroon Tribune also show that traders who sell fresh tomatoes in cane baskets fill the bottom of the basket with dry plantain leafs before putting the tomato fruits. A similar cunning style is visible where food traders tactfully mount cocoyams and potatoes in buckets, leaving unnoticeable caps inside the bucket. Even more startling is the malpractice whereby plantain vendors randomly plug out fingers of plantain from bunches before marketing. And that is not all. Palm oil vendors, especially those at the Mokolo market in Yaounde measure their products in containers whose volume are slightly smaller than what meets the eye. A palm oil vendor who elected anonymity disclosed that the containers are specifically commanded from plastic producers. “We do this because customers will not want to pay the exact amount for the real volume. However, they ‘see’ before they buy,” the trader said.
Another domain where the situation is alarming is in the measurement of beef and fish.
Against the backdrop of fake measuring units, the Ministry of Trade has been putting in concerted efforts to curb the rising tide. Officials of the Directorate of Metrology, Quality and Price in the Ministry of Trade are planning to hold a meeting today to discuss steps to take against the growing phenomenon.