Kenya Breweries goes fishing for 15,000 sorghum farmers in lakeside region

The ‘fishing mission’ has already excited small-scale farmers from Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya and Busia counties who intend to start planting the drought-resistant plant as a cash crop.

Speaking during a status update on the Sh15 billion project in Kisumu, Kenya Breweries Limited Managing Director Jane Karuku said the brewery plant is set to be an engine of economic development and catalyst for the lakeside city and the neighbouring counties upon completion.

“The new plant will provide an expanded market opportunity mainly for sorghum farmers in Nyanza region and will offer guaranteed market for the crop,” she said.

“Over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created when the brewery construction is completed and operations begin,” she aded.

Kisumu County Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o hailed the project and reaffirmed the county’s support for the project, citing the socio-economic impact of the project to the county.

“The County of Kisumu supports this project and we look forward to enjoying its economic impact and the ripple effect of the brewery plant to the various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction and transportation thereby positively transforming livelihood of our people,” said Prof Nyong’o.

The project, whose groundbreaking was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Diageo Global Chief Executive Ivan Menezes in July, is projected to handle up to a quarter of the output by Kenya Breweries.

Once Complete, the new plant will be heavily reliant on sorghum to produce popular and Senator Keg brand.

Senator Keg beer has slowly emerged as the beer of choice of many Kenyans due to its attractive prices, the demand for the lowly-taxed beer has spiked over the years and forced the brewery to raise the output by 20 per cent just to meet the demand.

Farmers from other regions have also jumped on the cash crop bandwagon and have ditched maize and wheat in droves to embrace sorghum farming over steady and higher returns.

In order to ensure seamless production, the brewer has built a solid sorghum value chain that comprises farmers, a research institute, seed companies, financial institutions, fertiliser providers, mechanisation companies as well as sector service providers.

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