East African Breweries — through its subsidiary East African Maltings Limited (EAML) — has kicked off a drive to enroll sorghum farmers in Kenya's Nyanza and Western regions as it seeks alternatives for barley, which is the main raw material for some of its brands
This follows its decision to use the crop as the main raw material for some of its brands like the low-priced Senator drink.
"Nyanza has a good climate for sorghum production and currently leads the way in the production of the red sorghum variety. This focus on sorghum production in Nyanza comes on the backdrop of successful trials in the Eastern region and is aimed at expanding coverage of sorghum within the country," said the company in a press release.
Experts say farmers can realise up to 1,000 kilos per acre with improved agricultural practices. An acre of Gadam Sorghum, used in the brewing of beer and animal feed can produce up to 600 kilos.
The initiative in semi-arid areas across the country has great potential for growth and is expected to impact the livelihoods of over 25,000 farmers by providing an extra source of income to the communities where sorghum is grown.
The project has drawn in key stakeholders such as Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari). It started in 2009 as part of EABL and EAML’s strategy to produce certain brands using locally grown materials and developing technologies.