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Women reap big returns from Sh14b keg plant

By Harold Odhiambo | January 19th 2020
By Harold Odhiambo | January 19th 2020
EABL Regional Business Manager Eliud Kiptoo engages sorghum farmers in Ahero, Kisumu County on May 18, 2018. [Dalton Nyabundi, Standard]

Women have taken up at least 50,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) keg plant in Kisumu.

This is according to Britain’s Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma, who made an inspection tour of the plant on Wednesday. EABL is owned by UK-based multinational beer and spirits producer Diageo.

The minister who was in Kenya to promote the UK-Africa Investment Summit slated for January 20 in London, also visited some sorghum farms and talked to the farmers.

EABL has contracted some 17,000 sorghum farmers in Nyanza and parts of Western to deliver the grain used in the production of keg. Most farmers are women groups organised into cooperative societies.

“I have visited the women’s cooperative in Kisumu, which has been working with support from Diageo to get them integrated into the supply chain,” Mr Sharma said in a communique released by EABL yesterday.

“What I am really proud of is that we have a British company, which is making sure that it’s not just about profits for its shareholders but it is also about supporting employment and particularly about economic empowerment for women here in Kenya and across Africa,” he said.

A group of more than 300 women in Matayos, Busia Countyis among those supplying the Sh14 billion plant with up to 8000 tonnes of white sorghum.

Members of Mlolongo Women Group, a consortium of several small women table banking and farming groups, take to the factory’s aggregators between five and 130 bags of threshed sorghum at a fixed rate of Sh32 per kilo of the grain.

The women are abandoning sugarcane and maize to give white sorghum a shot. 

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