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Sorghum beer

The partnership between farmer unions and Meta Beer (subsidiary of Diageo) has completed its first phase, and arrangements are being finalized for an expanded second phase. This partnership, brokered by 2SCALE, is a landmark for two reasons: the first time sorghum is being used as a beer ingredient in Ethiopia, and the first example of formal supply contracts for small-scale sorghum farmers.

Four farmer unions – Setit Humera, Dansha, Selam and Metema – have together supplied the entire contracted quantity of 2,600 tons of white sorghum. The final deliveries were made in April. The unions aggregate, check quality, and bag to the buyer’s specifications.

The next phase will be much broader. Activities with the Sineshaw and Tekeba farmer unions will be scaled up. One more sorghum variety (Birhan) will be introduced; field and laboratory trials have been successfully completed. Contracted farmers will be offered a technology ‘package’ that includes seed, fertilizers, mechanization options, crop insurance and crop protection chemicals. To ensure sufficient supplies of high-quality seeds, seed-production cooperatives will be established, with long term contracts from Diageo; 2SCALE will provide technical support.

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