AB InBev Namibia's Eagle Lager yesterday launched a 'Lima Nawa' initiative, which will give mahangu farmers across northern Namibia the opportunity to produce and sell their crop yields.
The initiative is part of boosting the production of Eagle Lager, a first of its kind Namibian brew produced from the freshest locally harvested mahangu. The beer is expected to make inroads into the local markets.
The company has partnered Conservation Agriculture Namibia under the 'Smart Agriculture', initiative, where local farmers are taught how to improve farming practices to increase their yield per hectare. AB InBev Namibia then offers a guaranteed market to these farmers for their mahangu, generating income and revenue for the local farmers and their communities.
Maija-Liisa Hangala, legal and corporate affairs manager for AB InBev Namibia, said the training of the farmers will include theoretical and practical lessons, and start next week.
Currently, the programme only supports 10 mahangu farmers from the Ohangwena region in a pilot programme, and trains them on farming methods which guarantee more and better crop yields. If demand for Eagle Lager increases, the project will take on more farmers.
Hangala could not say how many tonnes of mahangu the company needs, saying it will depend on the demand. The farmers will also be acquainted with the mahangu specifications which the company needs in order to produce quality.
She furthermore pointed out that although the training starts next week, the company will only start purchasing the crop after the next harvest. This will show whether the farmers had mastered the new farming techniques.
Speaking to the farmers, Engela constituency councillor Jason Ndakunda said this is a rare opportunity for them to produce quality mahangu and be able to sell it.
Ndakunda said considering the current climatic conditions, farmers need to be agriculturally smart, which is why they should embrace the training being offered.
"I also want to encourage our people to buy Eagle Lager because it is made from our own mahangu. By buying this product, you are supporting the farmers," he noted. Festus Hauwanga has four hectares on which he has been practising conservancy farming for the past two years.
He said the old method of farming depletes soil nutrients, while the new conservation farming style saves water and keeps soil nutrients intact.
"Additionally, I get to make profit. It can make you rich". Last week, Eagle Lager was also launched in Swaziland.
Operating just outside Okahandja, ABInBev Namibia is the youngest African member of the international conglomerate Anheuser-Busch, which bought out SAB Miller and opened its doors in Namibia in 2014.