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A shot in the arm for sorghum and millet farmers

Thursday October 20 2016

A sorghum farmer in his farm in Baringo.

A sorghum farmer in his farm in Baringo. East African Breweries has partnered with Kenya Cereals Enhancement Programme to boost smallholder sorghum and millet farming. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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East African Maltings Ltd (EAML), a subsidiary of beer-maker East African Breweries Ltd (EABL), has partnered with Kenya Cereals Enhancement Programme (KCEP) to boost sorghum and millet farmers.

The initiative would reach more than 12,000 smallholder farmers for the supply of the cereals essential in the production of low low cost brews.

Farmers would be expected to have at least an acre so that they can grow the two crops for subsistence and sell the surplus to the brewer.

Growers have been encouraged to form groups for easy bulking of the produce to beat the minimum limit of 30 tonnes required by EAML.

Speaking in Kitui during the launch of the initiative in the region, EAML managing director Lawrence Maina said that the firm now requires at least 30,000 tonnes of the two commodities nationally each year.

He added that they want to work with smallholder farmers in achieving the production objectives, while also improving food security and raising income levels.

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WHITE SORGHUM

Speaking in the same event, EAML’s agribusiness manager Gerald Gacheru said that for sorghum, they will seek the white sorghum types, Gadam and Sila (sorghum), and for millet, it will be the Pearl variety.

Under the agreement, EAML and KCEP will help provide the required seeds, among other incentives, while the brewer will buy the commodity at Sh33 per kilo.

KCEP is the umbrella body that works with cereal, pulses and other staple food farmers by helping them access the best seeds, fertilisers and other farm inputs.

Through it, farmers also market their produce, benefitting from better prices.

The partnership programme that includes other cereals that are essential in the industry currently runs in several counties.

They include Kitui, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Bungoma, Kakamega, Nandi, Trans Nzoia and Nakuru.

Plans are in pipeline to bring numerous other counties on board.