A Productive World
This imperative will support responsible, sustainable use of land for brewing crops by creating secure, sustainable supply chains and by helping small scale farmers increase profitability, production and social development. SAB aims to strengthen its ‘Go Farming’ initiative, through which it will increase local sourcing of agricultural inputs, particularly from emerging farmers. Working with its partners, SAB will continue to promote sustainable farming practices through programmes such as Better Barley Better Beer.
In early 2013, SAB confirmed the building of a multi-million rand state-of-the-art Maltings Plant at its Alrode Brewery is the southeast of Johannesburg. The Maltings plant will replace the existing 42-year old plant with a current capacity of 42 000 tonnes of malt and increase it to 130 000 tonnes.
This increase in capacity will require local farmers to supply up to an additional 100 000 tonnes of barley to SAB per year.
SAB, with its long history of involvement in the local emerging agricultural industry, most notably barley and maize, established the Go Farming initiative to feed its additional grain requirement.
The objectives of Go Farming is to develop a sustainable emerging farmer programme that gives farmers an opportunity to become independent and sustainable with the capability of operating on a small scale commercially viable footprint by supplying SAB with raw materials.
It will help to diversify SAB’s sourcing footprint geographically and demographically, reduce SAB’s exposure to import costs for barley and malt sourced abroad, create a strong supply chain for malt and barley, and help drive local rural economic growth.
Jacobsdal Pilot Project
Jacobsdal, a small town 50km north of Kimberley in the Western Cape, was selected for the Go-Farming pilot study because of its vast barley farming potential. There are two farmers involved in the pilot who rotate barley with their other crops of maize, wheat and soya beans.
Go Farming assists farmers from the point of inception with soil analysis and upgrades, proceeding then to fertiliser recommendations and water monitoring.
Optimal planting times are calculated and comprehensive assessments are carried out throughout the process to ensure that everything is on track.
SAB helps with full reporting, research and development and full evaluations of the chain from seed to delivery to the silos.
Go-Farming in Kwazulu-Natal
The Maize Go-Farming initiative was expanded into KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in 2011 and supports 98 farmers in the Bergville, Newcastle and Estcourt areas, covering the uThukela and Amajuba districts.
The project began as a partnership with the Department of Agriculture and in 2014, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) came on board for a three-year programme. This partnership aids infrastructure development through a system of grants, which SAB manages on behalf of the farmers.
Better Barley Better Beer
The programme encourages and supports sustainable farming practices amongst South Africa’s barley farmers focusing on water reduction, improved carbon footprints, soil health and clearing of alien vegetation, as well as the protection and restoration of ecosystems.
Better Barley Better Beer, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature of South Africa (WWF-SA), is in its pilot phase in the dryland area of the Southern Cape and in the irrigated barley areas in the Northern Cape, and will run for approximately 2 years.
The programme involves a total of 26 Barley Producers– 15 in the dryland area and 11 in irrigation, who have either voluntarily opted to participate or hold important conservation assets on their properties. These assets include endangered veld, important water catchment areas and critical species (see further detail in Background note below)
Through structured engagement and advisory support, Better Barley Better Beer is aimed at empowering barley farmers to understand and implement sustainable farming practices.
The Better Barley Better Beer Guidelines, developed in collaboration with the WWF-SA and SAB Agriculturists, as well as local barley farmers, drives the implementation of the programme by each producer.
The guidelines provide farmers with criteria, indicators and verifiers to measure how sustainably they are farming. Key indicators contained in the guidelines allow farmers to self-assess their performance using a checklist provided. They are also able to easily identify strengths and weaknesses and develop action plans to correct deficiencies.
The guidelines are designed to empower the barley farmer to make the right decisions today to ensure the sustainable production of local barley into the future.
The pilot is aimed at reducing the cost and risk of doing business and improving crop production, a ‘zero sum game’ for the farmer.
Farmers with critical conservation assets will be supported in engaging on biodiversity stewardship to protect and restore ecosystems. The stewardship concept is a new way of achieving conservation protection by creating positive, proactive partnerships with private landowners and conservation bodies such as WWF-SA.
Taung Barley Farmers Project
The Taung Barley Farmers Scheme in the Northern Cape was launched by SAB in 1994 as a means of encouraging enterprise development.
The project is managed by the SAB Maltings’ Irrigation Agricultural Services team in partnership with the North West Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Environment and Rural Development and the local tribal authority. It spans approximately 1 500 hectares of land and helps around 150 Emerging Farmers generate an income from barley and maize in the area.
SAB provides the finance to the farmers to grow the crops, agricultural extension services to ensure yields and quality and guarantees a market for the product.
Through a partnership with GrainSA, a voluntary association of grain farmers, the project is able to provide skills that empower farmers to work independently on a sustainable basis
In 2010, the 16 year-old Taung Barley Farmers project was recognised as the African Agricultural Commodities Initiative of the Year during the inaugural Africa Investor Agribusiness Investment Awards.
SAB’s Taung Small Holder Farming project was rated ahead of similar schemes across the continent.