East African Breweries has increased the amount of money it pays farmers for 90kg bag of barley by 17 per cent, from Sh2800 in 2012 to Sh3285.
Kenya Breweries Limited managing director Joe Muganda made the announcement in Loitoktok Narok County after presiding over an event to hand over a dispensary and a new dam to the local community where it draws out close to 70 per cent of its barley.
"Our partnership with farmers initially kicked off with the provision of seeds and fertilizer in 1965. Today however, the barley financing scheme lends more than Sh500 million to farmers annually at a negotiated low-interest rate. We know that there have been many learning sessions and our conversation is ongoing, but the most important thing for us is to keep our partnership healthy and as mutually rewarding as possible," said Muganda.
East Africans Maltings general manager Lawrence Maina said the company has introduced new barley varieties namely, Cocktail, Quench and HKBL-5 in a bid to improve yields. He said the company was targeting to get 45,000 tons of barley during the 2013-14 financial year.
The multiplier effect of this programme is already having an impact on the local economy. Through contract farming, there are now over 100,000 people working in the barley industry including farmers, farm inputs suppliers, contractors and transporters.
During the occasion, local area chief Joseph Ntaiya and the chairman of Barley Growers Association David Kalesi said the poor state of roads in the area had greatly hampered the transportation of barley from the farms and urged local county leaders to spare money in their budget for roads improvement.