Tanzania: Beer Firm Supports Barley Farmers with Quality Seeds
In its bid to support the agricultural sector, Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) has distributed barley seeds to farmers in Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions. The seeds have been distributed under the company's Local Raw Material Initiative where 4,000 tons of barley seeds would be distributed to barley farmers this year.
SBL Agribusiness Manager, Mr. Shafii Mndeme, said in Manyara recently that the initiative continues to expand and that they expect more barley farmers to benefit in the future."We have started with these regions...extra seeds are en route and more farmers are set to benefit this season," he said. Talking to journalists after receiving seeds, a farmer from Basutu ward, Hanang District in Manyara Region, Mr. Nobert Malihela, said the initiative has helped farmers in that area to get seeds and plant on time.
"We get seeds when needed and this helps us plant on time and get better harvests," he said, requesting the company to broaden the initiative to more farmers in the country. On his part, a farmer from the same ward, Mr. Mwinyi Makame, said the initiative has helped them have reliable market for their produce and built confidence in financial institutions and easily access loans.
"It is because of this contract farming that we have built confidence in banks and other financial institutions," he said. Mr. Bora Msaki who cultivates barley in Ngare Nairobi village in Siha Village, Kilimanjaro Region said the initiative has helped them get timely payments for their produce, contrary to what used to happen in the past."We are now sure of timely payments after harvesting period," he noted. Mr. Said Msua who has been cultivating barley for the past three years in the village expressed his joy because of ready and reliable market.
"This company has provided us with a reliable market for our produce. We used to go and beg buyers...this has ended," he said. The initiative started in 2012 with only five farmers producing 900 tons of barley.
Today, there are 150 farmers under the initiative in various regions producing between 5,000 and 6,000 tons of barley per season. The initiative is being run in various districts of Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Iringa and Rukwa regions.SBL provides extension services to the farmers in order to ensure that the crop is of the quality required for beer making as well as ensuring that harvest per acreage improves. The company enters into a contract with farmers and provides them with seed, pesticides and herbicides, thus lessening the burden of buying the items.