Windhoek-Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Tjekero Tweya said subsistence farmers are expected to commercialise mahangu and make it a key ingredient of the locally produced Eagle Lager beer now that an opportunity has arisen through the mahangu-based beer.
At the official launch of Eagle Lager on Friday, Tweya, whose speech was read on his behalf by the ministry’s permanent secretary Gabriel Sinimbo, said this will not only benefit AB InBev or Eagle Lager, but individual farmers and their families.
“I am aware that Namibians (especially in the northern regions) grow a lot of mahangu, which is used for household consumption and very little is commercialised. Now that an opportunity has arisen we expect even subsistence farmers to commercialise mahangu and make it a key ingredient of the local beer,” said Tweya.
Tweya said it is evident that the investment, without doubt, would contribute to the development of not only northern communal farmers but will also benefit the broader agricultural sector and the economy of the country.
“I am glad we are here to launch a 100% Namibian product – this affirms the reality that we are growing at home. We as government continue to encourage such innovation and productivity in the country.”
At the same time, the minister cautioned all Namibians to consume alcohol responsibly because if not managed well, it has a negative social impact on families and communities. Also speaking at the event was managing director of AB InBev Namibia and Botswana (formerly SABMiller), Renaud Beauchamp, who said they do not only purchase mahangu from communal farmers but collaborate with local NGOs to train farmers with techniques and tools that help double their yields per square metre.
Beauchamp said that as the brand grows they will increase the mahangu volumes purchased from smallholder farmers and will continue partnering and investing in equipment that will enable them to mill the grain rather than having to purchase the milled grain from large enterprises.
“By sourcing directly from hundreds of smallholder farmers and partnering with local NGOs, buying our raw material locally, investing in machinery to transform the mahangu before using it, by employing local people in production and distribution of the beers, we are committed to developing a localised business model that will contribute in increased returns to the farmers,” said Beauchamp.
In October 2016, AB InBev acquired SABMiller and became the world’s largest beer brewing company in the world. Their combined brewing experience dates back to more than 700 years. Beauchamp said since 1366, AB InBev has been brewing with the finest ingredients and making the best beers in the world.