Small-scale farmers in Luapula Province are on track to receive a significant boost from Zambian Breweries through a new cassava project, which is set to increase the use of the crop, provide a ready market and ensure production of an affordable Eagle lager.
The brewer is working on an initiative to buy surplus cassava from small-scale producers following recent investment in an innovative new technical process at its Ndola brewery that will enable it to more easily incorporate the root into its production process. Through this technology the company expects to increase the share of cassava in its Eagle lager from 25 percent to 40 percent, while removing the sugar content.
Zambian Breweries has been evaluating plans to set up a processing site in Mansa in order to source cassava and support small-scale agriculture, a move that has been spurred by a favorable excise rate of 10 percent on cassava-based lager when compared to 20 percent excise rate that was based on a lower content of cassava input.
The company aims to grow the share of cassava in Eagle lager and this will ultimately guarantee the growth of cassava farming in the selected regions.
“We are pleased to announce that we will, in the near future, open a new processing site in Luapula Province from where we will buy cassava from small-scale farmers and process it into a key ingredient in our affordable Eagle lager. This means we will significantly increase the amount of cassava we buy from rural farmers as it is one of the main components in the beer,” said Zambian Breweries Technical Director Franz Schepping.
“The future of Zambia and its economic development matters deeply to us. So, too, does the future of Zambia’s agriculture. Increasingly, we are looking to the nation’s small-scale farmers to supply raw materials for the beer we brew. The same farmers are also, I believe, critically important to the future of Zambia and to its hopes for progress and prosperity,” he added.
From 2015 the company introduced cassava into its Eagle lager formula. It is now developing an end-to-end supply chain supporting small-scale farmers in Northern and Luapula provinces, and with innovative technology will deliver a high quality, affordable clear beer that will grow to become a leading brand within the company’s portfolio and comparable to Mosi lager in the next three years.. The group is committed to expanding its sourcing from smallholders in a way that generates commercial value for the business and also improves the lives of those in the communities in which it operates through job creation and economic empowerment. The group recently signed an MOU with the government making it a leader in the development of the cassava industry.
By guaranteeing markets for crops, in this case cassava, and paying a pre-negotiated and jointly agreed price, Zambian Breweries is offering security and creating jobs, incomes and prosperity in the rural community and economy. Local sourcing of raw materials is part of the company’s sustainability agenda dubbed ‘Prosper’.
Zambian Breweries is one of the largest business partners and employers in many rural areas. The company actively promotes the procurement of locally produced raw materials from rural farmers, resulting in poverty alleviation and sustainable development of these rural economies.
To demonstrate the commitment towards growing the local cassava industry, Zambian Breweries was one of the five signatories to the Zambia Business In Development Facility (ZBiDF) MoU that was signed in mid-July 2016 and witnessed by the Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska.
The company has gone beyond cassava farming. A total of 36,000 tonnes of maize was bought from small-scale farmers for use in the production of opaque and clear beer during the 2015 season. The group initially engaged with 23 commercial farmers in the growing of barley, with annual uptake of 8,050 metric tonnes. With the imminent commissioning of its new maltings plant, the number of barley farmers will double to around 40 and with some 19,000 tonnes of barley to be produced.
In the last year two small-scale barley out grower pilot programmes have been introduced with a view to further expansion. Some 873 metric tonnes of sugar were consumed towards the manufacture of clear beer and non-alcoholic drinks. A further 1,300 metric tonnes of sorghum was used in the production of Eagle lager, with a direct impact on 2,500 households in the season. From 2015 the company introduced cassava into its Eagle lager formula and over 3,000 cassava small scale farmers are expected to be involved in the value chain in the coming year.
The group is committed to expanding its sourcing from smallholders in a way that generates commercial value for the business and also improves the lives of those in the communities in which it operates through job creation and economic empowerment.