UGANDA – Nile Breweries Ltd (NBL), a leading beer manufacturer in Uganda, has launched a UGX 4bn (US$1.06 million) state-of-the-art barley cleaning and drying plant in Cheminy, Kween district. 

Established in 1951, NBL is today a proud part of the ABInBev family after the successful completion of the business combination with SABMiller plc in 2016. 

The newly opened plant is located in the heart of Sebei region and will play a crucial role in advancing the quality and sustainability of barley production in the region. 

Before the opening of the plant, the Nile Special producer operated 2 breweries, located in Jinja and Mbarara, and 1 malting plant.  

The cleaning and drying plant will provide a safe storage facility to maintain the quality of barley and mitigate post-harvest losses for over 5,00 barley farmers in Kween, Kapchorwa, and Bukwo districts in Uganda. 

Adu Rando, managing director of Nile Breweries, said, “The drying and cleaning plant has the capacity to store and process over 250 metric tonnes of barley daily. Its opening reaffirms our commitment to supporting our local farmers to maximize their yields and reduce post-harvest losses while also ensuring quality control and convenience.” 

Nile Breweries buys over 8,000 metric tons of barley from farmers in Sebei region annually. Previously, the company said over 35% of the barley collected from the farmers goes to waste. 

“We are committed to sourcing the highest quality barley for our beer production. With the drying plant, farmers will now dry, clean, and store their barley in perfect condition at the facility straight from their farms. This will accelerate the drying process without altering the quality of the grain,” said Adu. 

It is alleged farmers in the region have been practicing open-air drying, a practice that has led to a loss of the quality of their produce. 

“Our farmers put a lot of effort in growing top quality barley, this plant will ensure that their efforts do not go to waste, and they can now focus on growing, knowing that they now have a ready and easily accessible drying facility,” said Joseph Luzinda, Agricultural Services Manager, Nile Breweries. 

The Eagle Lager producer has contracted over 25,000 farmers in Northern, Eastern and South-Western Uganda and purchases produce worth UGX109.3 billion (US$28.92 million) annually from local farmers. 

Nile Breweries’ brand portfolio includes Nile Special, Club Pilsner, Club Twist, Castle Lite, Castle Milk Stout, Nile Special Stout, Eagle Lager, Eagle Extra, Eagle Dark, Eagle Poa, and Chairman’s ESB, all locally produced in Uganda. 

Nile Breweries’ financial literacy programme 

In addition to the opening of the new plant, the Eagle Dark Producer has equipped over 1000 farmers in the region with financial literacy skills. 

The training carried out under the theme “Financial Empowerment of Farmers” has seen farmers across the two districts undergo training in financial planning, budgeting, investment, bookkeeping, and saving and credit management skills to enable them to manage and grow their farming businesses. 

Emmanuel Njuki, head of legal and corporate affairs at NBL said, “We depend 100% on the farmers for barley, by financially empowering our farmers, we want to ensure that the crop is profitable for them and that the proceeds are well invested. 

Empowering them with financial skills such as budgeting, investments, and how to access credit ensures that they are better placed to access better financing to grow their farming businesses,” he added.