Main goal of the project is to improve the level of food security and living standards of sorghum farmers in Eastern Africa by a quantitative and qualitative increase in sorghum production and the simultaneous provision of a sustainable market. Among other activities, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) will be initiated in order to substantially enhance the sorghum supply chain from primary producers to large scale agro-industrial processors. The strategic goal of the private sector partner East African Breweries Ltd. (EABL) is to substitute a considerable amount of imported grains through locally produced sorghum. As an outcome of the project, sorghum farmers will be able to improve productivity and increase their net incomes through greater access to improved inputs, processing technologies, and marketing options provided through commercial agribusinesses and producer associations. The project would build upon substantial experiences gained within the CFC financed project “West African Sorghum Supply Chain” (FIGG/34) that has been awarded with the 2010 World Business & Development Award issued jointly by the International Chamber of Commerce, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Business Leaders Forum. On the basis of the successful implementation of FIGG/34, the proposed project seeks to make a decisive step forward; that is by introducing new beverage brands that are marketed on the basis of their 100% content of locally sourced raw materials. EABL’s intention is to launch such a new exclusively sorghum based beverage brand as soon as a reliable regional sorghum supply chain is established.
The project is now in its second year of implementation and overall progress is good. Data available for Kenya and Uganda shows that sorghum sales already lead to an accumulated increased income for participating farmers by more than 1.2 mln USD. While the increase in volumes of white sorghum being delivered from smallholder farmers is already significant (close to 10, 000 MT), they do not fully meet the ambitious milestones set by the private sector partner EABL. However, there are clear indications that smallholder farmers are beginning to substitute maize by white sorghum, due to its ease of cultivation, its drought resistance and its palatability. Also due to anticipated yield increases as the project continues, the PEA remains confident that the end of project targets will be reached and that many of these targets, e.g. number of families being reached, may even be surpassed. The collaboration and support of the private sector partners is reportedly very good.