18 May 2012
During the 2012 G8 Summit SABMiller, along with other private sector organisations, is making a firm commitment in support of the G8's food security agenda.
President Barack Obama, with G8 and African leaders, businesses, international organizations and civil society, convened today to discuss new activities to advance global agricultural development, food and nutrition security in Africa.
Our investments, particularly in African agriculture, can drive sustainable growth in developing countries by creating market opportunities, job growth, and supply chain efficiency.
This translates to better livelihoods for African farmers and improved food security for their families. As a company that originated on the continent, we firmly believe a thriving Africa is vital to ensure a new era of prosperity for the global economy.
Having historically imported over 80% of our brewing materials in Africa (excluding South Africa), we aim to reduce the figure to around 50% over the next two years. By guaranteeing markets and fair prices for crops, and helping to improve quality and yields, increasing volumes of commercial crops can be sourced direct from smallholder farmers.
Sourcing directly from smallholder farmers and helping them improve their productivity and yields not only enables them to grow more, and better, food for their own families; but also gives them access to improved income which allows them to buy food and other goods and services which has a positive knock-on effect for the local economy.
The most exciting example of our local sourcing programmes is Impala, the world's first cassava-based lager which we launched in Mozambique last year. Innovations like Impala offer significant opportunities to improve the livelihoods and food security of subsistence farmers.
There is no doubt that food security is an important issue - by 2050 the global population is predicted to reach nine billion and the expanding population will need 70% more food. But it's not just about food. Water, food and energy are highly interconnected.
Growing and processing the additional food needed will increase water stress. At the same time, the systems that sustain us all will be impacted by climate change. Agriculture accounts for about 70% of global freshwater use and can pollute freshwater supplies if it's mismanaged. Energy is needed to fertilise and transport crops, which can themselves be used as biofuels. In drier regions, large amounts of energy are used to pump water and, as water stress gets worse, more energy will be needed for things like desalination.
So it's important that our local sourcing programmes not only improve food security for the farmers, but also look at the opportunities to improve things like irrigation techniques and fertiliser use. As we have said before, this is where partnerships have a crucial role to play, whether it's working with DADTCO and IFDC in Mozambique or FARM-Africa in South Sudan.
We're committed to playing our part in Africa's development and it's exciting to be part of the G8 initiative. We will continue to build effective partnerships with governments, NGOs and communities to create win-win situations where all parties benefit and Africa thrives.