Empower sorghum farmers to benefit from the Ksh 15B brewery project

By Soko Directory Team / July 1, 2017




By Amina Faki

Harnessing the industrial potential of sorghum is essential in alleviating poverty, creating employment and reducing malnutrition in the semiarid and marginal areas of the country according to a survey report done by the Bondo University College.

Although the 2011 report focused on Siaya County, it raised the perennial concerns that affect its its adoption, production and utilization as a staple and commercial crop in Kenya remained  low.

“This is largely due to low productivity, lack of diversified products, inadequate product promotion, poor marketing linkages and unfavourable policy environment. Sorghum production at the farm level is limited by low yielding varieties, lack appropriate varieties targeted for specific uses, poor agronomic management practices, diseases and pests and undeveloped seed supply systems.”

However, this might be a thing of the past as over 15,000 farmers are set to benefit from KSh 15 billion East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL)  plan to  set up a brewery this month with operations scheduled for in the next 18-24 months.

The investment is projected to expand the number of contracted farmers from the current 30,000 to 45,000 creating over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs to support its expansive value chain.

Export Processing Zones Authority  2005 grain Production report found out that farm production went up from 118,227 tonnes in 2002 to 126,433 tonnes in 2003.

Kenya Sorghum Production Statistics 2002-2003

Limited adoption may be under-investment in agricultural research. “Although Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have large national agricultural research systems, until 1990-2000 the supply of improved sorghum varieties was limited,” according to ICRISAT Research Program Working Paper Series No. 62 on Sorghum and Millets in Eastern and Southern Africa Facts, Trends and Outlook.

in 2016, a sorghum farming project was spearheaded by EABL in partnership with the Kisumu County which meant to promote food security in the area. Residents from Nyakach and Nyando were to be the beneficiaries of the project.

Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori and Kisumu are the regions EABL expects to find farmers from.

For farmers, the most popular variety is the GADAM ,grey in colour and, according to the Kenya Seed, it is tolerant to bird invasion, stem bores and foliar diseases.

GADAM is a high yield variety which matures in 4 months yielding an average of 500 Kilograms per acre.

Brewers have turned to using white sorghum for their processes and this has seen farmers increase their cultivation of varieties such as Sila and Gadam.  

Traditionally, the drier regions of Ukambani were the main sources of sorghum, where an estimated 32,000 farmers have been contracted.

“Agriculture is now a devolved function; therefore, I urge our farmers to take advantage of this initiative that will not only enhance their livelihoods because of the available market at EABL” Said Governor Jack Ranguma

EABL provides the market for the produce at a cost friendly prices to the farmers, a move meant to meet the increased demand for sorghum.

The demand for this crop rose following the removal of the excise tax, an element that drove up the demand for Senator Beer – whose main ingredient is Sorghum.

The Nyanza region climate is among the most conducive for sorghum and millet production and the proximity to the plant will further benefit the local farmers more. Gross additional farmer earnings are expected to reach over Kshs. 6 billion annually over the next 10 years boosting rural economies.

“Sorghum in Kenya is no longer a poor man’s crop. The high price ratio for sorghum in Ethiopia reflects taste preferences while the change in Kenya reflects the growing demand for food processing, namely sorghum beer,” cites ICRISAT. “Sorghum may be a poor man’s crop in terms of food preferences, but not in terms of price.”

Currently, the average sorghum market price in the country is 5,330 shillings per bag making it an expensive commodity than maize.

Producer price ratios for sorghum and maize, 1981-2010

However, to fully help the farmers, key players in the agricultural sector need to provide them with quality certified seeds, fertiliser and information on how they can deal with pests and diseases, low soil fertility and water stress to help them increase the yields.



About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

View other posts by Soko Directory Team


More Articles From This Author








Other Related Articles










SOKO DIRECTORY & FINANCIAL GUIDE

ARCHIVES

2018
  • January 2018 (291)
  • February 2018 (220)
  • March 2018 (279)
  • April 2018 (226)
  • May 2018 (240)
  • June 2018 (178)
  • July 2018 (257)
  • August 2018 (250)
  • September 2018 (256)
  • October 2018 (122)
  • 2017
  • January 2017 (183)
  • February 2017 (195)
  • March 2017 (207)
  • April 2017 (104)
  • May 2017 (169)
  • June 2017 (206)
  • July 2017 (190)
  • August 2017 (196)
  • September 2017 (186)
  • October 2017 (235)
  • November 2017 (253)
  • December 2017 (266)
  • 2016
  • January 2016 (167)
  • February 2016 (165)
  • March 2016 (190)
  • April 2016 (143)
  • May 2016 (246)
  • June 2016 (183)
  • July 2016 (271)
  • August 2016 (250)
  • September 2016 (234)
  • October 2016 (191)
  • November 2016 (243)
  • December 2016 (154)
  • 2015
  • January 2015 (1)
  • February 2015 (4)
  • March 2015 (166)
  • April 2015 (109)
  • May 2015 (117)
  • June 2015 (121)
  • July 2015 (150)
  • August 2015 (157)
  • September 2015 (189)
  • October 2015 (171)
  • November 2015 (174)
  • December 2015 (208)
  • 2014
  • March 2014 (2)
  • 2013
  • March 2013 (10)
  • June 2013 (1)
  • 2012
  • March 2012 (7)
  • April 2012 (15)
  • May 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (1)
  • August 2012 (4)
  • October 2012 (2)
  • November 2012 (2)
  • December 2012 (1)
  • 2011
    2010
    2009
    2008
    2007
    2006
    2005
    2004
    2003
    2002
    2001
    2000
    1999
    1998
    1997
    1996
    1995
    1994
    1993
    1992
    1991
    1990
    1989
    1988
    1987
    1986
    1985
    1984
    1983
    1982
    1981
    1980
    1979
    1978
    1977
    1976
    1975
    1974
    1973
    1972
    1971
    1970
    1969
    1968
    1967
    1966
    1965
    1964
    1963
    1962
    1961
    1960
    1959
    1958
    1957
    1956
    1955
    1954
    1953
    1952
    1951
    1950