SBL announces grand plan to support local farmers

22Mar 2018
Correspondent
The Guardian
SBL announces grand plan to support local farmers

An ambitious agribusiness project by Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL) to facilitate farmers growing maize, sorghum and millet in various parts of country has enabled the brewer to increase its locally sourced raw materials to 15,000 tonnes,

SBL’s Corporate Relations Director John Wanyancha speaks to the Parliamentary Budget Committee members when they visited the brewer's Mwanza plant last Saturday. Photo: Courtesy SBL

which is equivalent to 80 per cent of all the total raw materials the company uses in its beer production annually.

At a meeting last week with the Parliamentary Budget Committee held at SBL plant in Mwanza, the company’s Corporate Relations Director John Wanyancha said the brewer currently supports a network of 300 farmers across the country with plans to expand 450 in the coming two years.

The farmers’ support programme entails providing farmers with free high quality seeds, linking them to financial institutions to acquire capital needed for large scale farming as well as with suppliers of fertilizers and other farming inputs. In return, SBL buys all the produce from the farmers enabling them to repay borrowed capital to turn around their living standards and those of their dependants.

For the programme to remain sustainable and enable recruitment of more farmers, SBL has called on the government to maintain the current excise duty structure where beer made from local raw materials enjoys a taxation rate 40 per cent lower than beer made from malt.

Over half of SBL’s beer portfolio is made of 100 per cent local raw material, Wanyancha said. The brewer has also advised the government not to increase excise duty on all beer and spirits in the coming budget, which according to Wanyancha, will have a positive impact of maintaining current pricing.

“By maintaining current prices, the government is assured of more revenue as a result of increased consumption and growth of the alcohol market.”

Any further excise increase, the director warned, will trigger an increase in prices, an act that lead to declined sales for the producers, revenue loss to the government and a boost to illicit alcohol market.

The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industries Trade and Investment, Prof Elisante ole Gabriel, who underscored the government’s commitment to create an enabling environment necessary for the private sector to flourish.

Incorporated in 1988 as Associated Breweries, SBL is the second largest beer company in Tanzania, with its beer brands accounting for over 20 per cent of the market by volume. The brewer has three operating plants in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza and Moshi.