Kenya Breweries Limited to recruit 5,000 new farmers to grow sorghum

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Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) has launched a campaign aimed at recruiting over 5,000 new farmers to grow sorghum for the production of their value beer, Senator Keg.

Through East African Maltings Limited (EAML), KBL’s contract farming programme, Mtama Ni Mali, sources 100% of raw materials locally, providing a source of livelihood to over 40,000 smallholder farmers drawn from Kisumu, Migori, Siaya, Homa Bay, Busia, Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties, among others.

KBL provides a guaranteed market for farm output at competitive prices and in the last financial year, paid over Ksh1.2 billion to small holder sorghum farmers across the country.

With the contractual farming model, farmers have easier access to inputs such as improved seed varieties and fertiliser, as well as a ready market for their produce, which enables them to concentrate on enhancing yields in order to maximise on profits.

“As part of our sustainability strategy, our goal is to ensure that the business shares economic benefits with local communities by improving livelihoods.  Arid and semi-arid lands remain mostly unutilized in Kenya. However, some native crops such as sorghum, have been identified for their great survival chances even under conditions of high temperatures and low rainfall experienced in these regions. The introduction of beer made from sorghum has provided an opportunity to improve production and welfare for sorghum farmers”, Gerald Gacheru, EAML Head of Agribusiness.

“As a company that is leading the drive for sorghum commercialization in Kenya, we are currently registering sorghum farmers who will grow and supply grain to our breweries. The local sourcing programme is a crucial business priority for us because it enables us to grow value together with the farmers in Kenya. We are also encouraging Persons with Disabilities not to shy away from joining the programme. In partnership with Sightsavers, we are currently working with over 140 farmers who are differently abled and are looking to grow this number further”, Gacheru added.

To boost uptake and maintain the highest grain quality, KBL will continuously train farmers on good agricultural practices, post-harvest handling and value addition. They will also be provided with quality seed of improved varieties.

KBL uses digital growers’ management systems, to eliminate paperwork and enable tracking of the growing and harvesting of sorghum in order to more efficiently track farming activities. The digital platform helps smallholder farmers gain access to formal markets and improve the effectiveness of outgrower schemes. It has introduced high levels of efficiency and real-time traceability of the activities in smallholder farms down to the specific farm and boosted compliance.

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