Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) has urged the youth in Busia County to seize the opportunities created by the investment in the multi-billion shilling Kisumu Brewery to uplift their economic well-being.
Speaking at an entrepreneurship summit hosted in partnership with the County Government of Busia, KBL’s Head of Engagement and Sustainability Jean Kiarie Ngumo urged the youth to embrace sorghum farming as well as Senator Keg retailing as the region gears up for launch of the Kisumu Brewery, which comes into operation later this year.
KBL is committed to the economic empowerment of farmers and it is for that reason that local resourcing is at the core of their plans. Busia is a key beneficiary due to its proximity to Kisumu, and therefore the youth here have a chance to seize the opportunities being provided by the brewer.
“We are implementing a ‘West for West’ strategy in our local sourcing of sorghum which seeks to have majority of raw materials for Kisumu Brewery sourced from the Western and Lake regions of the country,” said Ms Ngumo.
KBL is working with thousands of farmers from Busia, Migori, Homabay, Kisumu and Siaya to grow white sorghum, the main raw material for the production of Senator Keg.
The Kisumu Brewery will initially produce Senator Keg made using locally-sourced sorghum and KBL targets to recruit over 15,000 sorghum farmers in the next 5 years offering a guaranteed market for the crop. This will lift demand for sorghum and in turn support small-scale farmers.
It will also provide greater production capacity to meet the anticipated demand for affordable and healthy beverage which would effectively compete, and with time eliminate, illicit brews.
The Kisumu Brewery, which will be commissioned later this year is expected to create 100,000 indirect jobs from the farms to the Senator Keg distribution chain in counties in Western and Nyanza.
“The youth in Busia County have been presented with a huge opportunity to join the agri-business sector through sorghum farming or be part of our distribution channel for Senator Keg. The Agribusiness and retail opportunities provide an alternative to selling and consuming illicit brews that have adverse health effects.
“Busia County is one of our key stakeholders, and that is why we are keen on ensuring that we impact positive change by providing alternatives for the youth. We look forward to positive results,” she said.
Other recent programmes launched include Project Heshima which seeks to offer vocational training for 2,000 youth and women who have been adversely affected by illicit brews, as well as provide them with alternatives for legitimate business.
KBL advocates for responsible drinking as indicated by their 2017 ‘Utado?’ campaign, which was launched to sensitize the youth on the importance of enjoying their drink responsibly.