KENYA – Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), a subsidiary of Diageo Plc has announced that it will source 100% of its raw materials at its new Kisumu pant locally by 2020, reported the Nation.

According to the KBL Supply Chain Director Patrick Kamugi, the move was part of EABL’s Western and Nyanza raw material sourcing plan.

The company has rolled out the ‘West to West’ backward integration programme aimed at having majority of the raw materials and the Kisumu brewery sourced from the Western part of the country, that is Nyanza and Western.

This will be made possible through an aggressive campaign run by EABL’s subsidiary East African Maltings Limited to recruit local farmers.

Since the plant needs an annual incremental of 10,000 tonnes of sorghum to feed its 1 million hectoliters capacity over a period of five years, KBL has already secured 30,000 acres of farming land and has provided farmers with 80 tonnes of seeds and advisory support as part of this commitment.

In collaboration with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation, the brewer is teaching farmers to grow white sorghum and high yielding varieties adaptable to various regions.

Also, the company said remains conscious to maintain a 60 -70% local workforce at the manufacturing site.

The plant the potential to provide 15,000 farmers with sorghum market to boost the region’s agriculture while creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

Bumper harvest expected

Sorghum farmers in the region are expecting a good harvest following efforts made by KBL to sponsor over 15,000 farmers to grow sorghum for the new plant.

Speaking on the matter, Chairman the Homa Bay County Sorghum Farmers Association, Mr Ager Kiroho said farmers in the region were expecting a good income from the brewer.

According to him, each farmer has harvested between 30 and 70 bags of millet, making the season’s harvest to be the highest in sorghum growing history in the region.

Efforts by KBL to boost this sector included providing 20 threshing machines to farmers as a way to increase production volumes ahead of the grant opening of the facility.

In addition, KBL will also distribute 400 grain drying sheets to first-time sorghum farmers.

“We expect to recruit more farmers in the coming months and even though the process had poised some problems such as bad weather at the start, there is hope farmers will harvest up to 15,000 tonnes of sorghum this season,” said KBL Supply Chain Director Patrick Kamugi.

Among other strategies include a benchmarking field trip event organized by KBL that saw 50 farmers from three counties trained on building crop production capacity.