Sierra Leone, West African Sorghum Value Chain Development

Country: Sierra Leone
Project details
Access to finance
Capacity building
Enterprise development
Market assessment
Value chain development
Households reached:
7000(Ghana)&1500(Sierra Leone)

West African Sorghum Value Chain Development (2006-2011)



Common Fund for Commodities, Diageo and Heineken International


To implement a public-private-partnership project that will substantially enhance the sorghum supply chain in both Ghana and Sierra Leone. To enable sorghum farmers to meet market specification by adopting technology in areas where private sector stakeholders (agricultural processors as well as input providers) have a clearly vested interest in facilitating farmers’ access to information, skills and market-linked inputs.

What we do

The beverage industries in both countries (i.e. Heineken, Guinness and their subsidiaries) are committed to purchasing locally produced sorghum to be able to substitute a portion of the raw material presently being imported. EUCORD organized farmers in producers/out growers groups in order to reduce transaction costs for both outputs (sorghum) and inputs (seeds, fertilizers). As an outcome of the project, sorghum farmers were able to improve productivity and increase their net incomes through greater access to improved inputs, processing technologies, and marketing options provided through commercial agribusinesses and producer associations. In Sierra Leone, the project was implemented in close collaboration with the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI). In Ghana, the project was implemented in close collaboration with TechoServe Ghana.


The goal of the project was to develop local sorghum supply chains to the beverage companies while increasing farmers’ income. Key targets were reaching 10,000 families and reaching a volume of 10,000 MT sorghum supplied to the two participating breweries. During the first year of the project, more than 9,000 MT was sold to the breweries while more than 8,500 registered households were networked into the supply chains. According to an impact survey conducted among 208 randomly selected farmers in Ghana and 80 randomly selected farmers in Sierra Leone, the average annual net income for sorghum farmers in Ghana increased from US$60 to US$110 per farming household in Ghana, and from US$47 to US$98 per farming household in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, 46% of the participating farmers were females while in Ghana this was only 8%.

Private sector partners Heineken and Diageo/Guinness have started new local supply chain projects in several other African countries. In 2010 the Heineken partnership in Sierra Leone received the World Business Development Award from the UNDP and the International Chamber of Commerce in New York.