Zambian Breweries Plc, a subsidiary of AB InBev, has made progress on local sourcing of agriculture ingredients from 30% to over 80% in the last decade.
This year, the brewer’s agricultural procurement increased to around 40,000 tonnes – (barley, cassava, maize and sorghum) benefitting over 30,000 households and creating more than 80,000 jobs along the value chain.
Also, the drinks maker expanded its Smart Agriculture Out-grower scheme from one to three out-grower schemes with over 20,000 local farmers reaping the benefits of Zambian Breweries agricultural buying programme.
Through this initiative, it procures essential ingredients maize, barley, sorghum, and cassava for brewing.
“Building on our parent company AB InBev’s global 2025 sustainability goals which is in tandem with Zambia’s National Development Plan of making Zambia a middle-income country by 2030, Zambian Breweries with its clear beer has promoted value addition and has helped diversify the economy through purchasing crops from both small-scale and commercial farmers and also using blockchain technology to enhance smart agriculture and financial inclusion especially in rural areas through the launch of the Chembe BanQU project,” stated Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele.
Zambian Breweries’ vision is to promote better crop management and sustainable agribusiness by facilitating access to training and constant mentorship of smallholder farmers while also connecting them to markets stated Mr Sekele.
Through key partnerships, the company has achieved sustainable methods of farming and has improved farmers’ yields.
During the 2020 season, Zambian Breweries bought more than 30,000 metric tonnes of local produce including barley, sorghum, cassava and maize.
Last year, in 2020, the company procured 19,300 metric tonnes of barley, which grew to 22,500 metric tonnes in 2021.
On the cassava front, Zambian Breweries more than doubled its procurement from 4,000 metric tonnes in 2019/2020 to almost 5,000 metric tonnes in 2020 / 2021, which directly benefited over 7,000 households.
Zambian Breweries this year also ran a successful pilot programme with Silverlands Ranching, of Southern Province, that aimed to create a direct purchase process from smallholders via a central buying point, with seed distribution and skills training being provided to participating farmers.
In 2021, the Mosi brand owner procured 5,000 metric tons of sorghum from 2,300 metric tons in 2020.
From the inception of its flagship Smart Agriculture Programme, Zambian Breweries has consistently looked to not only help improve local farmers’ yields but also guarantee access to the best ingredients for some of its most popular brands including Mosi, Castle, Black Label and Eagle lager.
Other than supporting the agriculture sector, in the last decade the brewery has contributed to total taxes paid to the treasury of just over K10 billion (US$610m). Average of K1 billion (US$61m) of taxes per year.
In addition, Zambian Breweries has invested in construction of a malting plant in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) that opened four years ago; and recently upgraded its Lusaka and Ndola plants with cutting-edge technology, among others.