TANZANIA – Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), a subsidiary of AB InBev has partnered with the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to support smallholder sorghum farming in Tanzania.

The collaboration kicked off with a pilot project where TBL Plc has agreed to purchase the sorghum produced by approximately 1,400 smallholder sorghum farmers in Dodoma and Manyara.

TBL Plc, FtMA and WFP will support the farmers with access to sorghum seed; crop insurance; sorghum crop management protocols; agricultural extension services; and improved aggregation and market access to maximize their harvest.

TBL Plc managing director, Philip Redman, said that the project will play a crucial role in raising production of sorghum in Tanzania, ensuring farmers get reliable source of income.

“The company sources sorghum locally from smallholder farmers and by collaborating with FtMA and WFP we are collectively working to strengthen the value chain and to increase the livelihoods of Tanzania’s smallholder farmers who are essential part of its supply chain,”

“We believe in developing robust, sustainable and inclusive value chains and are positive about our partnership with FtMA and WFP, the farmers will get production support in the form of seeds, training materials and agronomic extension services which will in turn help to raise sorghum production,” says Redman.

He furthermore went on to say, “We are also looking to roll-out the BanQuBlockchain platform, which will add transparency and traceability into our supply chain.”

BanQu enables farmers to have an immutable digital record of their financial transactions e.g. production, sales, purchases (inputs), repayments, etc. and also enables the farmer to be paid via mobile money.

“This ensures food security for farmers and promotes financial inclusion, increasing the bankability of these farmers. Increased production, with TBL Plc as the buyer, will also serve as a source of income for them for improving their economic positions,” he added.

Last year TBL spent over T36.6 billion (US$15.8m) on the sourcing of local raw materials as part of its wider local content development program.

“We believe that our contribution through our local sourcing programs stands with the government’s wider efforts towards enhancing Tanzania’s economy,” Redman said.

“Access to reliable markets is one of the many barriers holding back smallholder farmers from breaking out of subsistence farming,” said WFP Tanzania Country Representative, Michael Dunford.

“While we are working with sorghum farmers to invest in increased production beyond household use, we also need to ensure commercial buyers such as TBL Plc are there to purchase the surplus, boosting the livelihood of farmers.”

In 2018, ABInBev publicly committed to skill, connect and financially empower their direct farmers by 2025.

To this end, the company has made significant investments in supporting smallholder farmers in Tanzania with the following products and services i.e. KilimoUza: a bulk SMS and USSD platform to send farmers weather, market and agronomic information.

In addition to that they have introduced an input advance credit scheme, coupled with financial literacy training, for the procurement of quality inputs and services.

They have also undertaken research trails for developing improved sorghum seed varieties and research based crop management protocols tailored to the Tanzanian context; and agronomic training and support throughout the season, to inculcate sustainable agronomic practices.