ZAMBIAN BREWERIES EMPOWERING FARMERS THROUGH SMART AGRICULTURE
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA –Zambian Breweries (ZB) appreciates the hard work many of the country’s farmers put in all-year-round to ensure the consistent quality of the raw ingredients that go into making its popular products, such as Eagle Beer and Mosi Lager. The company is investing heavily in training, mentorship and support. ZB has since launched a long-term ‘Smart Agriculture 2025’ scheme that will help facilitate better crop management and sustainable farming. Efforts are also underway to improve yields while reducing inputs, water usage and fertiliser utilisation.
By the end of 2018, Zambian Breweries will be working with over 5,000 small-scale cassava farmers to supply its Eagle beer production at its Ndola Brewery. ZB also supports barley and sorghum farmers. It bought 10,500 metric tonnes of barley in 2017, supporting up to 4,000 farming households from Mkushi to Kalomo. It further plans to double its sorghum demand from 2,000 to 4,000 metric tonnes.
Zambian Breweries Agriculture Manager Chris Nicolle, said: “Zambian Breweries is not merely interested in procuring raw material, but would like to further empower our local farmers by helping them increase productivity in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner.”
Under the smart agriculture scheme, it aims to use technology to map production, carry out research into crop varieties and connect farmers in its supply chain to provide traceability. Training and mentoring of farmers aims to assist them in becoming financially empowered.
As Zambian Breweries continues to expand its operations, its demand for local produce has also risen. In 2017 alone, the company opened a US$33 million state-of-the-art malting plant in the Lusaka South Multi Facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ) and expanded its Ndola plant with the addition of a one million hecto-litre packaging line, and upgraded its warehouses – all of which require huge amounts of agricultural produce.
The cassava project has given small-scale farmers a sense of empowerment. Instead of having to export their produce themselves, Zambian Breweries has made it easier for them to sell locally.
“Smart Agriculture will ensure a secure, resilient and high-quality supply of locally produced crops for decades to come. We depend on our farmers to provide us with materials we need to continue to produce quality beer. We need to support and help them enjoy sustainable growth. Our smart agriculture programme is a great way for us to do that,” said Mr Nicolle.