SAB aims to put 5 000 small farmers into business by 2020

5th December 2014 By: Leandi Kolver - Creamer Media Deputy Editor

South African Breweries (SAB) aims to put 5 000 smallholder farmers into production by 2020 to supply its South African operations, corporate affairs and transformation director Monwabisi Fandeso has reported, explaining that this initiative forms part of the group’s newly launched global sustainable development framework, Prosper.

Malting Plant

To facilitate the development of small farmers and to ensure adequate offtake for their products, SAB is building an R850-million local malting plant in Alrode, Gauteng.

Gauteng Department of Rural Development and Agriculture head Thandeka Mbassa says government welcomes this initiative, as SAB currently sources most of its barley over- seas.

She adds that the Gauteng government has ambitious targets in terms of increasing the agriculture sector’s contribution to gross domestic product and, therefore, it is important to enable farmers to “graduate” into agroprocessing.

In addition to the focus on small-scale farmers, the SAB Prosper programme also includes other targets, such as reducing the company’s water use by 1 ∙, to 2.98 ∙, for every litre of beer produced by 2020.

Waste Reduction

SAB has also committed to a 30% total value chain carbon footprint reduction by 2020, while continuing to reduce the amount of waste that ended up in landfills.

Further, Fandeso says SAB will also support more than 30 000 small enterprises through the SAB KickStart initiative, and train more than 25 000 liquor traders in responsible retail practices.

He adds that the brewer will report on the progress to reach these targets on a yearly basis, which would keep the company accountable.

Meanwhile, Banking Association MD Cas Coovadia says that, while SAB’s targets are ambitious, “we live in a world where this sort of ambition is necessary”.

He adds that, if true progress is to be made in terms of sustainable development, a shared platform has to be created to enable businesses to share their best practices.