Reopening of bars, restaurants a boon to local sorghum, barley farmers as KBL doubles demand

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 19 Nov, 2020 09:53 | 2 mins read
Mugs of beer. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kenya Breweries Limited has reaffirmed its commitment to using locally sourced sorghum and barley for beer brewing.

The company said it has revised its demand for grain following the government’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions of re-opening of alcoholic beverages trade outlets namely bars, pubs and restaurants.

In a press release on Wednesday, KBL revised its grain demand upwards to 20,000 tonnes of sorghum and 20,000 tonnes barley, which is almost double the volumes projected in August during the lockdown.

Through East African Maltings Limited (EAML), KBL’s Contract Farming Program has enlisted thousands of farmers across the country.

Eric Kiniti, EABL Group Corporate Relations Director said that during the Covid-19 lockdown, the economic restrictions depressed sales and in turn caused them to reduce the grain demand.

However, he noted that they took various steps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic to farmers by honoring all the contracts for the financial year 2019/2020, purchasing 45,000 tons of barley and 32,000 tons of sorghum and paid all the farmers.

“We also promised to review our grain demand upwards once trade was reopened warranting a greater supply from farmers as the demand for our beer grows,” Kiniti said and called on registered farmers to plant more and other interested farmers to express interest to join the contract farming programme that will assure them of a market and pre-agreed prices for their produce.

 “Our 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 currently working with over 47,000 farmers across Kenya who earned over Sh 2 billion last year”, he added.

To champion for diversity and inclusion, the Director said they are encouraging persons living with disability not to shy away from joining the programme.

“In March 2020, we kicked off a project for inclusion of farmers with disabilities in Homabay County, western Kenya in partnership with Sightsavers. We attracted 39 farmers with disabilities with a total of 76.5 acres planted white sorghum for use in the production of Senator Keg beer”, he explained.

To join the programme, farmers can obtain an expression of interest form by visiting the agricultural wing of EAML offices at Molo or any appointed aggregators.

Alternatively, farmers can email the company via [email protected] (for sorghum farmers) and [email protected] (for barley farmers).

Annually, EABL sources 50,000 metric tonnes of barley from close to 1,000 farmers in Narok, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and Meru counties. In 2018 they contracted over 30,000 farmers from Kisumu, Busia, Homa Bay, Siaya, and Migori counties to supply white sorghum for beer production at its new plant in Kisumu

KBL has been a leading brewer in Kenya since it began operations in 1922 its key brands include Tusker Lager which is the flagship brand, Tusker Malt Lager, Pilsner, White Cap, White Cap Light, Senator, Guinness, Allsopps and President Lager.