East African Malting is looking for farmers in Laikipia, Kwale, Baringo, Bungoma and Taita Taveta to grow white sorghum for its new brand beer, Senator Keg after research showed these regions have high potential for production as the crop thrives well in semi-arid areas.
This follows successful contract farming of farmers in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya and Migori counties.
The company which currently has 20,000 farmers is seeking to increase the number of farmers planting the crop to 45,000 over the next five years in a program dubbed “mtama ni mali” – sorghum is wealth.
In this, the company will increase farmers’ earnings from the current Sh2.2bn to Sh6bn over the next decade paying Sh30 per kilo of sorghum delivered.
In the 2019 season, the company expects to buy 14,000 tonnes of sorghum, 10,000 in the long rainy season beginning March and 4,000 in the short season rains set for September.
The plan is also set to reduce illicit brew consumption in Kenya from the current 50 per cent to less than 20 per cent over the next five years as more Kenyans will be encouraged to consume more branded safe beers.
Intercropping sorghum and legumes can give 35-60 per cent more profit than maize bean system
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Fact sheet on how to grow the highly demanded sorghum crop
White sorghum at on display at the 2017 Nyeri Agricultural Show. Photo/file.
A research by East African Breweries in 2017 reveal that Kenya trails her neighbors in sorghum production due to use of uncertified seeds by farmers.
According to the research, Kenya produced 144,000 metric tonnes of sorghum in 2017 and imported 133,000 metric tonnes to curb the deficit while Ethiopia leads the region with over 280,000 tonnnes.
Uganda produced approximately 170,000 tonnes while Tanzania produced 155,000 tonnes.
In another survey based on a nationally representative sample in 2014, Tegemeo Institute estimated that only 15 percent of farmers were using improved sorghum seeds. In addition, cultivated land area under improved sorghum varieties was only 15 per cent.
East African Breweries Ltd requirements of an estimated 60,000 metric tonnes annually, expected to rise with a projected increase in beer consumption presents a tremendous market opportunity to farmers.
EABL can be reached on +254 711 018 000.