East African Sorghum Value Chain Development, 2009-2014
Donors: East African Breweries Ltd., Diageo, Common Fund for Commodities
The objective of the project is to implement a public-private-partnership project to develop a stable and high-quality sorghum supply chain that will increase incomes of sorghum farmers and enable national beverage industries to substitute imported grains by locally produced sorghum. The project targets were to produce 45,000 MT of sorghum and reach out to 25,000 households earning cash income.
What we do
This 4.5-year project was designed in collaboration with East Africa Breweries Ltd (EABL), a subsidiary of Diageo (UK). The project objective was to develop a stable and high-quality sorghum supply chain that increases incomes of sorghum farmers and enables the national beverage industry to substitute imported grains by locally produced sorghum.
The results of first three years were impressive as the annual volumes delivered to EABL doubled each project year. Unfortunately, in 2014 the Kenyan Government removed the tax-free status of EABL’s Senator brand, the only beer brand made of local (white) sorghum. As a result, the sales of Senator plummeted and EABL stopped the purchase of white sorghum for more than one year. Early 2015, the Government of Kenya reinstated the tax-free status on beverages which consist of 100% local raw materials and EABL resumed its local sourcing.
Throughout the project, we see multiple factors that were essential to the success of this project from a committed value chain Champion to the involvement of intermediate partners (for bulking and training). Innovative practices also ensured the success of the project. These practices include sensitization and support towards farmer group, adoption of good agricultural practices (GAPs), access to credit and joint/group marketing, mechanization, as well as the multilevel contracts (which increased the level of trust and transparency). On the other hand, challenges and risks still remain in relying on one single buyer and bird control. This project also proved that it is possible to expand domestic utilization of sorghum towards food security.