By Amin Kef (Ranger)
In a calculated strategic step designed to uplift Sierra Leone’s Local Content Policy and make meaningful contributions to the nation’s economic advancement, Sierra Leone Brewery Limited (SLBL) has initiated a partnership with local farmers. This partnership serves as a clear demonstration of the company’s resolute dedication to promoting the utilization of locally-sourced sorghum. This particular ingredient holds significa nt importance in the production of a diverse range of beverages, notably beer and Maltina. Through this collaboration, SLBL solidifies its commitment to both local sourcing and sustainable economic growth.
Under the leadership of Foday Daboh, the Brewery’s Corporate Affairs Manager, SLBL is emphasizing its resolute dedication to encouraging commercial farmers across the country to cultivate specific sorghum varieties that align seamlessly with the Brewery’s requirements. This bold initiative not only aims to secure a consistent supply of sorghum but also strives to empower farmers, generate employment opportunities, and elevate the overall quality of the brewing process.
The culmination of these efforts is the successful execution of the Pre-Planting Sorghum Cultivation and Awareness Campaign, conducted across multiple districts throughout Sierra Leone. Central to this campaign is the distribution of complimentary sorghum seeds to farmers, encouraging them to seamlessly integrate sorghum cultivation into their existing agricultural practices. By nurturing sorghum production at the grassroots level, SLBL’s ultimate goal is to lessen the dependency on expensive foreign imports, thus fortifying the local economy and bolstering Sierra Leone’s self-sufficiency.
Presently, despite the involvement of approximately 5,000 farmers in sorghum production, the current yield falls short of meeting SLBL’s production demands. In a strategic pivot towards local sourcing, SLBL is urging domestic farmers to intensify their production efforts. To this end, the Brewery is offering attractive incentives and a guaranteed market for the produced sorghum, creating a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties.
Daboh underlined that SLBL’s support extends beyond the mere distribution of seeds. The Brewery is extending transportation services, deploying expert agronomists, and providing advance payments to contracted farmers. This comprehensive approach is designed to ensure the triumphant cultivation of local sorghum while solidifying the partnership between SLBL and the farming community.
Demonstrating its commitment to sustainable practices, the Brewery is meticulously managing sorghum waste. The byproducts generated during the brewing process are ingeniously repurposed as fertilizer or pig feed, with SLBL actively returning these byproducts to the farmers. Additionally, to further incentivize local producers, SLBL has augmented the purchase price of sorghum from NLe300 to NLe350 per 50kg bag, making it a financially rewarding venture for farmers.
Laurent Bukasa, the Managing Director of SLBL, highlighted some recent projects it is undertaking during a press conference. He disclosed that SLBL, with the support of the Heineken Africa Foundation, has launched substantial community development projects in Wellington and Calaba Town, valued at €70,585 and €89,589.5 respectively. These projects primarily focus on augmenting water supply and sanitation infrastructure. Bukasa underscored the pivotal role of clean water in ensuring health and well-being, encouraging residents to take ownership of these projects to ensure their triumphant implementation.
Furthermore, it’s important to recall that since May 2020, the Heineken Africa Foundation, in collaboration with Sierra Leone Brewery Limited, has been collaborating with World Vision International (SL) to combat the spread of Covid-19. The implementation of this collaboration led to increased access to sustainable clean water and hygiene practices for disadvantaged communities, positively impacting the lives of thousands of people.
As Sierra Leone Brewery Limited continues its efforts to support local agriculture and contribute to the nation’s development, the Brewery remains steadfast in its commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainable growth, striving to uplift even the most remote corners of the community.