Brewery wants sorghum and millet

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PHOTO: Farmers harvesting finger-millet in Western Kenya in an undated photo. EABL is looking for at least 30,000 tonnes of millet and sorghum to meet its deficit. PHOTO BY HAILEY TUCKER.

Smallholder farmers working in groups have a chance of annually delivering at least 30,000 tonnes sorghum and millet to one of the region’s biggest alcohol manufacturer, East African Breweries Limited (EABL).

The company buys the two products at Sh33 per kilo, but for easy collection, small-scale farmers must pool together their harvest to meet the minimum delivery requirement of 30 tonnes.

East African Malting Limited, a subsidiary of EABL, Lawrence Maina said the company aims at offering farmers ready market while providing affordable alcohol brands to consumers.

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Sorghum and millet are among the short season indigenous subsistence crops consumed in Kenya, with the potential of becoming cash earners for both small and large scale farmer amid the strained supply.

According to Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) pearl millet is one of the strongest drought tolerant varieties, therefore, fit for growing in dry lands or regions with irregular rains.

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The two crops mature in less than four months.

For the purpose of the brewing, farmers are required to grow white sorghum varieties, Sila and Gadam, and pearl millet.

Farmers can access quality seeds for planting from Kenya Cereals Enhance Programme outlets.

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Contracting farmers to produce the crops is taking root too as a way of showing commitment of producing and buying the harvest.