Issa Dinya, a farmer from Bumbuta Village in Kondoa, now has a reliable market for his commercially produced sorghum. He was part of TBL Plc’s sorghum pilot project which aimed to equip farmers with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), that have improved the yield and quality of sorghum, as well as to provide them with a guaranteed market for their produce.
Prior to joining the sorghum project, Dinya and many other farmers in the area grew sorghum mainly for subsistence purposes. Two thousand smallholder farmers have benefited from the Tanzania Breweries Public Limited Company (TBL Plc), WFP and FtMA sorghum pilot project to date. Tanzania’s smallholder farmers are an essential part of TBL Plc’s supply chain. The project aimed to improve their livelihoods and they produced yields that were approximately 70% better than the previous year.
The trilateral project kicked off in January 2020 where TBL Plc agreed to purchase the sorghum produced by smallholder sorghum farmers in Dodoma and Manyara. TBL Plc, FtMA and WFP supported the farmers with access to sorghum seed; crop insurance; sorghum crop management protocols; agricultural extension services; as well as improved aggregation and market access to maximize their harvest.
For his part, TBL Plc’s Managing Director, Philip Redman, said that he was pleased to see positive results from the sorghum project because this would play a crucial role in the company’s commitment to improving sorghum farming in Tanzania, a development that will ensure that farmers have a reliable source of income going forward.
According to Redman, his company currently sources 74% of its raw materials locally and is committed to increasing its local sourcing over the coming years. TBL sources around 9,000 tonnes of sorghum for the production of its fast-growing affordable brands – Eagle and Bia Bingwa. “Our local sourcing programs are one of the many ways in which we make a significant contribution to the government’s wider efforts of enhancing Tanzania’s economy,” he said.
Speaking at one of the sorghum projects visits in Dodoma, the Executive Director of Kondoa District, Mustapha Yusuf, commended the TBL Plc local sourcing programme. “The programme has greatly improved sorghum farming in Tanzania through direct contracting - a model that has proven to be conducive to improve both the yield and quality of sorghum in the country, “he said.
In 2018, ABInBev publicly committed to skill, connect and financially empower their direct farmers by 2025. “To this end, our business has made significant investments in supporting our smallholder farmers in Tanzania with the following products and services – Kilimo Uza: a bulk SMS and USSD platform to send farmers weather, market and agronomic information; An input advance credit scheme, coupled with financial literacy training, for the procurement of quality inputs and services; Research trials in Tanzania for developing improved sorghum seed variety and research based crop management protocols tailored to the Tanzanian context; and agronomic training and support throughout the season, to inculcate sustainable agronomic practices,” says Redman.