EABL to rope in more farmers
East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has mapped six counties where it plans to contract more farmers to plant sorghum for production of its low-end Senator keg beer.
The firm is banking on additional farmers and improved production to sustain output at its Nairobi brewery and the new Sh15 billion plant scheduled for opening next week in Kisumu.
The six counties being considered by the brewer are Kakamega, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Baringo, Bungoma and the drier parts of Laikipia. The drive is part of a five-year plan to grow the number of contracted farmers in arid and semi-arid areas to 45,000 under an initiative dubbed ‘Mtama ni Mali’ (sorghum is wealth).
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EABL sorghum supply chain subsidiary East African Maltings Limited (EAML) is behind the drive. EAML General Manager Lawrence Maina in an interview yesterday said counties such as Kakamega had been roped in, with 3,000 farmers recruited to join 17,000 others in the Nyanza and western Kenya region in the March planting season.
He said some of the targeted counties had shown potential, boosting confidence in the sustainability of the initiative to ramp up supply of the raw material.
“Acceptability of the crop has been phenomenal and we expect an upturn of 40 per cent in the grain delivered to the plant in the two seasons. We are looking at upwards of 10,000 tonnes in March and about 4,000 in the short rains in September,” said Maina. Keg production uses selected white sorghum varieties.
The Kisumu plant is expected to generate 110,000 direct and indirect jobs. More than 20 per cent of these jobs will go to sorghum farmers in six counties in Nyanza and western Kenya.