East African Breweries Ltd (EABL), through its subsidiary East Africa Malting Limited (EAML), and in conjunction with ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has started recruiting farmers in Western Kenya to supply sorghum to its Kisumu plant, which will start operations soon.
According to the firm’s regional manager Henry Mokaya, some 15, 000 farmers are set to benefit from the project, adding they will be divided into three groups depending on the sizes of their plantations.
Kisumu County Agriculture Technical Support Manager Sylvester Oketch said the division was necessary to safeguard the interests of the farmers and ease the procurement of sorghum from various locations.
Okech further said that small scale farmers with one to ten acres would be directly linked to a firm that would collect the harvest from them at Sh32 per kilogram and deliver it to EABL.
Large scale farmers with plantations ranging from 10-100 acres would enter into direct contracts with EABL and would individually deliver the produce to the firm at Sh38 per kg.
The mapped out areas for the programme include Migori, Siaya, Kisumu and Busia, which have the most suitable climatic conditions for sorghum farming.
The farmers shall be trained on white sorghum farming and at the same time receive field extension services courtesy of EABL.
Okech pointed out root and stalk diseases as the most likely to affect the crop in the region adding that farmers shall be trained on how to effectively manage them.
He encouraged farmers to plant the crop simultaneously in order to share the risk of birds feeding on the crop and at the same time put measures in place to scare pests.
The officer further urged farmers to practice good farming methods which would pave way for increased productivity and in turn increase their profit margins.
President Uhuru Kenyatta last year officially reopened the brewery which closed shop in the 90’s.
The brewery, which was set to start operations in June this year, would increase the production capacity of the Senator Keg beer which is popular among low income earners.
The Ksh 15 billion plant is expected to create over 100,000 jobs, promote agribusiness, and spur economic growth in the area.