Guinness targets 10,000 sorghum farmers in 2020

Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited has announced plans to increase the use of sorghum which constitutes 50 percent of the total local raw materials used for its production to 70 per cent. About 48 percent of the raw materials used by the company are sourced locally. The 70% sorghum will translate into 15 metric tonnes by 2020. The projection will witness an increase in the existing 5000 contracted sorghum farmers to 10,000, creating an avenue for more farmers usually based in the Northern, Upper East and West regions. to increase livelihood. Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited used 12 per cent of local raw materials in the 2012 production year, increasing it gradually to the current 48% which consists of maize, cassava, sorghum, and hops. Managing Director Francis Agbonlaho revealed the company made a firm decision in 2008 that what the company needed was carbohydrate based beverages hence the resolution to source much of its cereal requirements locally. Speaking at an event organized to honour some 10 sorghum farmers, farmers groups, and aggregators from the Upper East and West regions in Tamale, Mr Agbonlaho called on farmers to identify seeds that can produce quality yields to meet the target. “Today we are using maize, cassava, and sorghum, in fact we use a lot more sorghum and over the years we have used more than twenty five thousand metric tonnes of sorghum alone all sourced mainly from these regions, Mr Francis Agbonlaho said, adding ” we’re going see how we can source much of our cereal requirements locally and therefore reduce our importation, our  dependence on imported grains”. He reiterated the company’s preparedness to work with new clients thus encouraging stakeholders to identify opportunities in the production value chain to improve the sources for farmers. He also expressed his gratitude to government for creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive and encouraged consumers to patronise the about 20 brands that comes in quality taste and package. The awards ranged from best single volume supplier of sorghum for farmers who have supplied over one thousand tonnes of sorghum over the last four years, best quality supplier, best agro practice, best lead farmers, and best farmer groups. The aggregator received a threshing machine, a motorbike and assorted drinks from Guinness while the farmers took home an undisclosed cash amount, motorbikes and assorted drinks. Corporate Affairs Manager of Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited, Gabriel Opoku-Asare cautioned consumers of Guinness alcoholic beverages not to abuse the content. “We believe that just like any other thing , if you abuse it, it will have a detrimental effect on your body so with that we educating drivers under the ‘twa kwan no mu mmom’, is a programme that targets drivers to teach them to enjoy alcohol responsible. Basically we’re saying you can’t drink and drive. We also educate all our employees through an alcohol education programme, the beautiful thing is that this year we want to roll it out externally so you can go on the internet and have a view of it and also understand it better”. Baharatu Musah, a farmer from the Upper West has over the period of four years supplied over one thousand metric tonnes of sorghum to Guinness thus making her the best single volume winner. She said the “award will encourage me to produce more and I will also urge other women to join farming”. The Deputy Agriculture Minister Dr. Sagre Bambangi urged farmers to upgrade towards commercial farming to ensure sustainability and food security in Ghana and to ensure the boost of their source of livelihood He is optimistic credit facilities for farmers under the planting for food and jobs programme under the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration will ensure job creation under the value chain of the programme.

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By Zubaida Ismail ||Ghana]]>