ZAMBIAN Breweries is set to purchase sorghum from local farmers through its partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP).
According to a statement released by WFP, the company will support some 1,000 smallholder farmers in Gwembe and Pemba districts in Southern Province by purchasing the sorghum they produce.
Under the partnership, Zambian Breweries and WFP would also help smallholder farmers access high-yielding sorghum seeds, provide training on sorghum crop management and facilitate access to insurance to protect their crops from climate shocks, agricultural extension services and markets.
Additionally, smallholder farmers will receive training in conservation agriculture, post-harvest loss management, commodity aggregation and financial literacy.
WFP furthers says this set of interventions would contribute to enhancing the production and productivity of smallholder farmers, while increasing their opportunities to sell their produce through the reliable market provided by Zambian Breweries.
It is expected that the interventions would ultimately improve their incomes, while contributing to improved food security in the country.
Welcoming the partnership, WFP country representative Jennifer Bitonde said the UN agency looked forward to strengthening capacity for smallholder farmers.
“WFP Zambia looks forward to embark in this partnership with Zambian Breweries over this innovative project. As part of its smallholder support interventions, WFP has been promoting the adoption of climate tolerant crops like sorghum to strengthen smallholder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks, and the partnership with Zambian Breweries will provide a ready market for their sorghum production,” said Bitonde.
And Zambian Breweries country director Jose Moran said the partnership would give the company an opportunity to promote smart agriculture.
“Smart agriculture is a key component of our sustainability goals and our dream to create a Better World, so our partnership with WFP makes perfect sense as we work together to provide support and markets for small-scale farmers, who are a virtual part of our supply chain,” said Moran. “It is exciting for us as Zambian Breweries to note that we are making strides towards achieving our goal on smart agriculture set by our parent company – AB InBev. Our target is to have 100 percent of our direct farmers skilled, connected, and financially empowered in the next five years.”
Zambian Breweries has already started buying sorghum from smallholder farmers in Zimba, with over 350 transactions made and 450 tons of sorghum bought from the smallholders so far in August.