By Business Reporter
THE future of the home-grown barley project by Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) – subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – looks bright”, says project manager, Martin Krafft.
For the year to date, 377 hectares of barley have been planted (257 hectares at Ndonga Linena – 90km east of Rundu and 120 hectares at Shadikongoro – 200 km east of Rundu). The project expects to harvest about 1 800 tons of raw barley by the end of November.
This year, Government availed 380 ha of existing irrigation land to the project and planted barley under irrigation as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry; government’s Agriculture Business Development (AgriBusDev) – managing and coordinating the Green Schemes – and NBL.
This has been the first year of the 10-year Barley Industry Development Plan (BIDP) which is governed by the MOU and the acting Technical Committee, thus far proving to be a successful Public-Private-Partnership (PPP). Due to the collaboration between AgriBusDev (Petrus Uugwanga), the farm managers of Shadikongoro (Danie Marais) and Ndonga Linena Agricultural Project (Titus Andreas) as well as the O&L’s Floris Smith, Krafft remains confident about the future of home-grown barley. Krafft: “This is a very positive project kick-off. Hopes are high that the barley planted results in a good quality harvest for NBL and decent returns for AgriBusDev as well as the small scale farmers involved. This would allow us to plant more barley next year. Provided we achieve product quality and yield requirements, we aim for a year-on-year increase of +/-1,500 hectares of barley planted per annum. Eventually, the goal is to gradually replace the import of about 40 000 tons of malted barley. NBL intends to source all raw barley locally. This, however, requires investing into a local malting plant which seems to be feasible when the project reaches the benchmark of harvesting 15 000 tons of local raw barley per year.”
NBL aims to harvest 12 000 hectares of raw barley over the next 10 years. It has imported malted barley as a key ingredient for most of its current beer brands.
NBL Managing Director, Wessie van der Westhuizen: “This project is inspired by the O&L Group purpose of ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’ for all Namibians, and our commitment to breakthrough thinking which is aimed at creating opportunities for growth at home and strengthening the Namibian economy, for better livelihoods for all Namibians.
“NBL initiated and invested into barley trials in 2010 with the intent of establishing a local barley industry that would create jobs and support the local economy. It will support our local agricultural sector in rural areas which is something we are just as passionate about as making good beer. We believe that a Namibian Dollar spent in Namibia rather than elsewhere is a dollar spent towards bettering the lives of Namibians and we are therefore committed to doing everything we can to procure locally whenever possible. I sincerely want to thank Government for supporting us in bringing this dream to life. Thanks to the PPP we are on our way to develop a large scale Namibian barley industry that will further complement government’s Vision 2030 and ‘Growth at Home’ Strategy. Thisinitiativecreatesa local barley supply chain in Namibia that benefits each member of the chain, as well as the Government and the community as a whole.” Since the commencement of the barley trials, NBL has so far invested more than N$5, 5 million into the barley project for trial planning, execution, seeds, laboratory and brewing trials, as well as shipments and transport. This excludes the product innovation work that has gone into developing the new brand, King Lager – a beer that is brewed using Namibian raw barley.
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