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Meta Abo Brewery announced last Tuesday that  the brewery’s barley input will be supplied entirely by local farmers by the end of 2017.
During a press conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel on September 8, 2015, the brewery said the  Sourcing for Growth (S4G) Program, a joint venture it had started with local farmers three years ago well be proficient enough to supply all the brewer’s barely input demand by the stated time.
S4G is a program through which Meta Abo Brewery directly sources it’s barely from small holder farmers, replacing imports with local production. The brewery will  provide the farmers with a comprehensive package of support and inputs consisting of mechanization, which is being piloted in some areas, chemicals, improved seeds, access to credit, training, a purchase contract for the produce, and crop insurance.
In exchange, the farmers will get competitive prices for their produce, and regular markets. The Sourcing for Growth Programme that is on its third year of implementation has been successful both in yield volumes as well as creating a positive impact on the lives of the 6,113 farmers that are involved.
“Over the coming few years, existing breweries will need between 80,000 to 200,000 tons of malt. The local supply so far is covering only half of this demand. The big volumes of malt that are being imported need to be substituted by local supply, step by step as we go forward,”  State Minister of Industry Mebrahtu Meles (PhD)  said.
He further stated that the main reason for the limited local supply of malt is lack of barley development; the government in response is undertaking an all rounded effort to address this problem and is finalizing a strategy to increase local production.
“Brewers like Meta are supporting farmers through improved techniques and technologies and providing marketing systems, which are all very crucial to bring the required change,” the state minister said.
He also stated that because the brewery is helping build the capacities of farmers, through the provision of training, high quality seeds and fertilizers, which have resulted in increased productivity.
The farmers have been able to get better income, enabling them to save money as well as send their children to school.
The brewer also announced that it will pilot an electronic farmer management system, together with its implementation partner, Technoserve. The new system is expected to create a more powerful two-way exchange of information, allowing farmers to better understand their land and produce.
So far, Meta has invested 90 million birr in the Sourcing for Growth Program of which 12 million birr was dedicated to providing pre-financing to all of its smallholder farmers. Currently, the brewery sources 50 percent its malt locally from farmers located in Arsi, West Arsi and South West Shewa Zones.