Sustainable agriculture efforts come to South Africa through SAB
Source: African Business Review
Sustainability and conservation is an important topic around the world, and one affecting practically every sector of industry. Whether a business’s goal is garnering goodwill by going green, or simply saving some green by reducing energy and resource costs through conservation, efficient best practices are on everyone’s minds.
Last year global beer giant SABMiller announced ambitious new sustainability targets that the company plans to meet by 2020—targets including a reduced carbon footprint, reducing waste, and supporting more sustainable and responsible land use among its facilities and suppliers. Right now South African Breweries (SAB), an integral part of SABMiller, is moving forward with these initiatives through the launch of the “Better Barley Better Beer” program, which aims to help its barley suppliers develop more sustainable production methods.
According to a press release from SAB, the –created in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature of South Africa (WWF-SA)—enlists 102 emerging farmers tending to more than a thousand hectares of irrigated land in and around Taung, a city in South Africa’s North West province. The program will focus on education and improvements in issues like water reduction, ecosystem protection, defense against invasive plant species, and attention to soil health, with an overarching goal of improving carbon footprints.
“Supporting the growth of emerging, small scale producers and their migration into the mainstream agricultural sector is a critical area of focus for SAB,” said Thinus van Schoor, General Manager SAB Maltings and Hop Farms, in the SAB press release. “We are developing and supporting a sustainable, reliable and commercially competitive local agricultural footprint able to provide SAB with its total raw material requirement. This will help to create jobs, strengthen the local economy and build SAB’s supply chain.”
The program is one of mutual benefit for both the farmers and SAB. By growing more sustainably, the farmers will be able to boost profitability and strengthen production for years to come. On the other hand, SAB will be able to secure a stronger and more reliable supply chain. After all, grain is a key ingredient for beer production, and farmers in Taung provide SAB with around 7 percent of the total irrigated barley crop produced—they also provide SAB with around 10,000 tons of corn, or around 6 percent of the brewing company’s corn demand. The success of this project will be a success for both parties, and for futures in South Africa agriculture.