Barley for beer to be grown locally

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Windhoek

Namibian green schemes would start growing barley as from next year to supply Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL). This follows five years of intensive testing at a cost of more than N$5 million to ascertain whether or not Namibia’s climate can grow barley, a key ingredient in making beer.

The tests have shown that the locally grown barley “was of excellent quality and matches the high standards of the barley that NBL imports from its international suppliers.”

This was jointly announced by the NBL, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Agricultural Business Development Agency (AgriBusDev), which manages the country’s green schemes.

NBL signed a memorandum of understanding with the agriculture ministry for government to avail 500 hectares of land under the green schemes for the production of barley.

NBL also hinted that it would be bringing out a special beverage made with the locally grown barley, with the launch of the new beverage scheduled for the end of October. NBL says they “aim to harvest at least 12 000 tonnes of barley over the next 10 years.”

Currently NBL imports 40 000 tonnes of malted barley every year. The company is nevertheless mum on whether it intends on setting up a malting plant in the near future, opting to only say that: “a malting plant in Namibia has not yet been established. It is also important to note that malting is a water-intensive industry.”

“We’re now ready to develop a large-scale barley industry that will further complement government’s Vision 2030 and ‘Growth at Home’ strategy. This initiative and partnership, which is aimed at adding value to Namibia in support of the ‘Growth at Home’ strategy in particular, will create a local barley supply chain in Namibia that benefits each member of the chain, as well as the government and the community as a whole”, NBL’s managing director Wessie van der Westhuizen said.

NBL initiated barley trials in 2010 with the intention of establishing a local barley industry that would create jobs, develop the much-needed agricultural sector and support local business.

“We believe that a Namibian Dollar spent in Namibia, rather than elsewhere, is a dollar spent towards bettering the lives of Namibians.

“It is one of our strategic focus areas to achieve a certain percentage of local procurement by 2019 and we remain relentless in exploring further opportunities at home.

“The establishment of Namibia’s own barley industry will create jobs and support our local agricultural sector and economy, which is something we are just as passionate about as brewing good beer,” van der Westhuizen said.

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