Busia County Government and East Africa Breweries Limited are working on a partnership plan to commercialize sorghum farming in the county.
This follows a meeting between the two parties on Wednesday to strategies on the Lady Luck that has come knocking aimed at benefitting 5000 sorghum growing farmers in Busia county, who will be new suppliers to the EABL plant in Kisumu for the production of Senator Keg beer.
The EABL Head of sustainability Jean Mugo said EABL is in Busia to support county developments in a commercial and agricultural aspect.
” Partnering with governments and supporting county’s developments is very key to our overall strategy and thus the choice of Kisumu plant at an investment of Sh15 billion to set up a whole new value chain in this part of the country” she added.
Most farmers grow sorghum for subsistence but EABL will now be contracting commercial farming a move that is likely to help reduce poverty in the county.
“Senator Keg is one of our best EABL innovations and we innovated it to help fight social problem, the illicit brews. It is safe, healthy, quality and meets the consumer at a price that is pocket friendly” said Mugo.
This drink is purely made from sorghum and EABL is ready to contract farmers once they have formed and consolidated their farms for production of sorghum.
EABL is using a Western Fit strategy targeting 5 counties; Kisumu, Busia, Siaya, Migori and Homabay where farmers will grow SILA Sorghum a variety suitable for production of this brand of beer.
SILA Sorghum which is drought resistant flowers in 40-60 days and matures in about 3 months, thus farmers can plant it in two seasons.
The regulatory affairs officer Alligator Makori said they are going to work closely with the county government to ensure that all involved stakeholders work within the law sounding a warning of losing a business license by any distributor who breaks the law.
The sales personnel Thomas Okoth said the plant will be consuming 15000 tones of sorghum per month and that most of their raw materials now is from Ukambani, Tharaka Nithi and also imported from Tanzania.
Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi welcomed the idea terming it a valuable commercial and agricultural investment opportunity for the county especially that the primary raw material, the task force and even the distributors will be mainly from the county.
” I look at it as an alternative to farmers who have in all years concentrated on sugarcane and maize farming without profits. It will be a worthy opportunity for them” added the DG,” he said.
The CEC for Agriculture Dr. Moses Osiya explained that as a department they are very impressed with the EABL’s initiative in Busia county especially with their focus on commercializing of sorghum.
He said that Busia county has an immense potential of sorghum growth because of the favorable climate yielding 400-1000kgs per acre, adding that the county has 10,200 hectares of aggregated land for sorghum producing 2000kg per hectare.
The Kisumu EABL plant will start its full operations between July and August this year.