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SABMiller wins smallholder funding for Southern Sudan

25 June 2010

SABMiller, one of the world's leading brewers, has won nearly $1 million funding from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) to introduce an innovative local sourcing model for cassava through its subsidiary Southern Sudan Beverages (SSB). SABMiller will contribute over US$2m through the partnership to match the funding provided by the AECF.

A beer is being developed which will be brewed with cassava sourced from local small scale farmers, providing enhanced income for the farmers whilst reducing the need for imported ingredients. The project has been announced as a commitment at the United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit this week.

The project will also promote sustainable agriculture and support food security.  The entire AECF grant will be used to mobilise and strengthen the capacity of smallholder farmers so that they are able to take advantage of the assured market of SSB's supply chain, and access markets beyond. SSB will incentivise farmers to grow cassava by guaranteeing to buy their crops at a pre-negotiated and jointly agreed price. 

UK Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan said: "SABMiller is helping farmers in southern Sudan through Farm Africa to move from subsistence to commercial farming and they're providing a market for their produce.

"Business has a vital role to play in helping lift people out of poverty. Aid is a means to an end but economic growth is the engine that drives people out of grinding poverty."

Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa said: "This project will convert what is currently a subsistence crop into a cash crop, creating valuable and sustainable economic opportunities in a fragile region where, after years of fighting, the land has been depleted and is unsuitable for many crops.  Opportunities along the supply chain for other private entrepreneurs, in areas such as cassava processing, input supply, distribution and retail networks, will amplify the wider benefits for the local economy."

Hugh Scott, Director of the AECF, said: "We are delighted to be working with SABMiller to make a difference to the lives of thousands of rural smallholder farmers in Southern Sudan. SABMiller were one of a number of companies to win support in a special AECF competition for business ideas emanating from six "fragile states" across Africa (Sierra Leone, Liberia, DRC, Burundi, Southern Sudan and Somalia). We would encourage the private sector to follow SABMiller's lead in investing in Africa's rural areas for mutual benefit."

The project would bring direct and significant long-term market opportunities for around 2,000 smallholder farmers by the end of year 3. With dependants, the project will benefit around 12,000 people. Adding in other employment effects, both in terms of direct employees, as well as across other agricultural labour, distribution, retail, transportation and other sectors, SABMiller estimates that up to 15,600 people could benefit.

SABMiller is partnering with leading NGO, FARM-Africa, to implement the initiative, with FARM-Africa responsible for integrating smallholder farmers into the SSB supply chain and for increasing cassava yields.

Notes to editors

SABMiller's Sudan investment
In May 2009 Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd (SSBL) began production of Southern Sudan's first locally produced beer, White Bull Lager. SSBL's new beverage plant is the first local manufacturing facility in Southern Sudan's capital city, Juba and has the capacity to brew 180,000hl of clear beer and 60,000hl of carbonated soft drinks annually. This brings the total number of African countries that SABMiller plc now has interests in, to 35.

The US$37m investment will also create employment for hundreds of Sudanese locals and has already employed a large number in the construction of the plant. The local Juba community also has a pioneering land lease agreement with SABMiller plc that will ensure they receive royalties from the development. The brewery will also be providing the local communities with clean drinkable water that it has extracted from the Nile and purified.

SABMiller plc is one of the world's largest brewers with brewing interests and distribution agreements across six continents. The group's wide portfolio of brands includes premium international beers such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch, as well as leading local brands such as Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie.  SABMiller is also one of the world's largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.

In the year ended 31 March 2010, the group reported US$3,803 million adjusted pre-tax profit and group revenue of US$26,350 million. SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

Ten Priorities. One Future. Through our Ten Priorities for sustainable development, SABMiller will make a difference both locally and globally to enhance the One Future that we all share. A robust
approach to sustainable development underpins our ability to grow and our licence to operate. Furthermore a well-managed growing business is good for wider economic development, leading to greater employment and  investment in local economies and communities.

Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
The AECF is a US$50-100 million fund spanning Southern, Eastern, West and certain Francophone African countries. The AECF, which invites the private sector to bid for its funds through open and transparent competitions, seeks to support innovative business ideas that are commercially viable and have positive development impact on poor people living in rural areas across Africa. It is a "Special Partnerships Initiative" of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) created with funding from the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA) and, more recently, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The AECF, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is managed by KPMG Development Advisory Services.
For more information on the AECF please visit or contact

Farm Africa  

Bianca Shevlin
Corporate media relations manager
Tel: +44 20 7659 0172

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