DELTA Beverages says the uptake of its beverages sorghum contract farming scheme (BSCFS) will decline in 2018, as some of its farmers were now attracted to the government’s Command Agriculture scheme.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The company’s secretary, Alex Makamure, told NewsDay in emailed responses that Delta was assessing the 2018 planted hectarage and state of the crop and continues running the sorghum contract scheme, which provides inputs for their flagship Chibuku traditional beer and Eagle lager.
“We anticipate that the uptake of our scheme will decline somewhat as some of the farmers were attracted to the government Command Agriculture scheme,” he said.
Makamure, however, said there was no risk to the supply of sorghum, as they will be able to access the cereals through the Grain Marketing Board.
Makamure said they normally use 10 000 metric tonnes (mt) to 13 000mt of red malting sorghum for Chibuku and 4 000mt of white or low tannin sorghum for Eagle lager.
Sorghum beers have grown in importance within Delta’s product mix, as demand for clear beers and sparkling beverages continues to weaken due to the sluggish economy.
The sorghum beer volume grew by 10% above prior year for the third quarter in 2017 and closed flat for the nine months. The growth was driven by Chibuku Super, the company said in its trading update for the third quarter ended December 31, 2017.
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Last year, Delta injected $1,3 million into the scheme and expected to receive about 12 000mt of both red and white sorghum. In 2016 it put $1,1 million into the project.
Delta’s BSCFS is a farmer development programme through training and extension support, ensuring accessibility of farming inputs in order to guarantee future supply of malting sorghum for the business while also guaranteeing a market for the sorghum producers.
It provides livelihood to more than 9 000 communal families.