We’ve been busy

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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When you think about SAB and agriculture, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most people, it’s a simple picture – luscious hops and barley growing in a spacious field. In reality, for SAB, agriculture is so much more.

Yes, growing and harvesting the ingredients used to brew your favourite beers is important, but for SAB, agriculture gives us the opportunity to stretch far beyond the farm. It enables us to make a difference in the lives of local farmers and help create a sustainable tomorrow for all South Africans.

So what initiatives do we have, and how have they impacted 2016 thus far?

The Hops Harvest

South Africa’s hop farms are found on the south coast of South Africa in George in the Western Cape, a region that supports the entire crop output of the country. At a latitude of 34°, it is far removed from where hops are traditionally grown, which is in the Northern Hemisphere between latitudes of 40° and 45°.

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Hops thrive in cold winters and long summer days, so George is almost perfectly suited for growing them due to the marginal climate. It is still 3 hours short in day length, but this has been overcome through good growing practices and hop varieties bred for the specific South African conditions.

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This year’s annual hops harvest, which began in mid-February, exceeded our expectations of 830 tonnes, by producing 860 tonnes of quality hops.

With eight private growers, three SAB Hop Farms and the SAB research unit where the team do most of their hop breeding, we were able to sustain approximately 110 permanent jobs for the industry and 700 seasonal jobs.

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Women in Maize

Women-in-Maize is aimed at empowering women smallholding farmers in rural and township communities and addressing some of the challenges encountered by them. Participating Women-in-Maize farmers are assisted with skills improvement, financing, training and access to markets, and most importantly being included in SAB’s supply chain.

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In May, we celebrated this initiative in Bronkhorstspruit with an event attended by women farmers from Ekangala Primary Cooperative. Ekangala is just one of the many cooperatives within Women-In-Maize, and this multi-million-rand investment will see upwards of 120 women farmers harvesting around 13 000 tonnes of maize.

Go Farming

The SAB Go Farming initiative has taken agriculture one step further by including local farmers in plans to supply essential raw materials. By enabling farmers to become self-sustainable, SAB are creating a strong supply chain for malt and barley; a symbiotic relationship that delivers rewards for everyone.

This year was the first time SAB has purchased over 300 000 tonnes of locally grown barley in a single harvest season. A big step forward in realising our ambitions to sustainably grow the local industry.

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Conclusion

2016 Has been an exciting and productive year so far. We have achieved great things, and are expecting the remainder of the year to hold more of the same. To keep updated, join us on our social channels and keep an eye on your newsfeed.

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