Sorghum farmers in Kenya are reaping big from their products which is said to have hit a profitability of up to 220 percent since the entry of Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) into the sorghum market for Keg beer production.
According to the latest research paper published by the Egerton University’s Tegemeo Institute in partnership with KBL titled “Sorghum Production in Kenya”, the high demand has also contributed to improved living standards of Sorghum farmers and in addressing issues of food security.
In line with the government’s Big 4 Agenda on food security and manufacturing, and given their extensive experience contracting over 45,000 sorghum farmers in Kenya,
The paper details how the sorghum crop has resurged to claim its place as both a cash crop and the growing potential to provide food security solutions. It evaluates sorghum production in Kenya, farmer characteristics, availability of inputs, and opportunities for sorghum growers in the global market.
“We are not only providing a ready market with our forward contracts with over 45k farmers but also playing a catalytic role to inject growth and recognition of the sorghum crop,” said Jane Karuku, KBL managing director, during the launch event.
KBL and Tegemeo Institute launched the paper during a forum on ‘Sorghum Farming’ at the University of Nairobi attended by Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Prof Fred Segor and other key stakeholders in the agricultural sector.
“One such crop that has the potential to eradicate poverty and ends severe food insecurity is sorghum. This is because sorghum is tolerant of drought and can survive under a wide range of soils” says the report. “The expanding demand for sorghum beer targeting low-income consumers as a cheap and safe alternative to illicit liquors has been a pull factor in the sorghum beer value chain. This has created vast opportunities among value chain actors”
The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation commended KBL’s efforts towards improving sorghum farming in Kenya and encouraged more public-private partnerships in order to tap into the potential of sorghum as a cash crop and a solution to food insecurity.
“We are happy with the work that KBL is doing towards promoting sorghum farming in the country and creating earning opportunities for thousands of farmers across the country. This a good example of corporates that are contributing to the realization of the Big 4 Agenda; having contracted over 45,000 sorghum farmers across the country,” said Prof Fred Segor.
Data from the paper shows that there are approximately 40,000 small-scale sorghum farmers with farm sizes ranging from 0.4 to 0.6 Ha (1 to 1.5 acres) in the country. The introduction of sorghum beer in the market has provided an opportunity to improve production and welfare for sorghum farmers.
As part of their sustainability strategy to acquire 100 percent of raw materials from local sources by 2020, and to meet the high demand for Senator Keg, KBL aims to double the market for sorghum as a cash crop from 20,000 metric tonnes to around 40,000 tonnes in the next five years.