Mr Ossai, the Director of Public Health, Enugu State Ministry of Health, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Enugu.
“Palm wine is not a synthetic material because it is natural and it contains high level of yeast that cleans the eye.
“It is also like a source of energy and helps a nursing mother for her breast milk to flourish.
“People prefer drinking it because it is natural and devoid of health hazard, unlike beer and other alcoholic drinks that have chemical additions that are dangerous to health,” Mr Ossai said.
Meanwhile, Ijeoma Nnamani, who owns a drinking joint at J.J.C. Bus Stop in Ogui, Enugu, has said that there is a high demand for palm wine.
Ms Nnamani said she sells a big glass cup of undiluted palm wine for N500 while some other dealers sell same at N700.
“I also sell the diluted variety at N200 but customers always demand for the undiluted one called `Akuru’, she said.
Onuabuchi Nnamani, who consumes palm wine daily, said he preferred palm wine to beer, especially the one from Udi Local Government Council of the state called “Aneke Chime’’.
Explaining why people go for it, Nnamani said that “Aneke Chime’’ remained the strongest and best among palm wine produced from any part of the country.
A palm wine tapper, Dennis Okoroife, said that high demand for the commodity was responsible for the hike in price.
Mr Okoroife, who is a resident of Obinagu in Emene, Enugu, said that he sells a gallon of diluted palm wine for N1,500 while the undiluted one goes for N2,000 per gallon.
“The price at times, goes high, depending on the turnout of buyers and the supply in the market at a given time,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Fidelis Ugwueneh, a 94-year-old former palm wine tapper, said that the demand for palm wine remained high due to its use for traditional events in Igbo land.