Guinness puts Cameroon’s sorghum in its beer

The Africa Report | Since 2018, Guinness Cameroon, a subsidiary of the British group Diageo, has spent more than €13m on grain supplies. 4,500 sorghum farmers in northern Cameroon can soon look forward to working with Guinness Cameroon.

For the past five years, the subsidiary of the British group Diageo has been sourcing all of its cereals from various cooperatives – Cameroon’s Conseil Régional des Organisations Paysannes de la Partie Septentrionale du Cameroun, Cropsec and the Société Coopérative de Commercialisation des Céréales du Nord (Sococcen) – to produce the Harp Premium brand beer.

“It is brewed with more than 75% of local materials [sorghum, sugars and ethanol],” says Andrew Ross, the head of Guinness Cameroon. Thanks to this partnership with the country’s second-largest brewer, annual revenues average 2.8bn CFA francs (€4.26m).

Since 2018, the company has spent 8.7bn CFA francs on 34,000 tonnes of cereals. Guinness, for its part, has invested more than 3bn CFA francs to adapt its production line. The brewer also provides farmers with improved seeds and builds water points.

Maize and barley to come

“It makes sense for our company to build strong relationships with local suppliers to reduce logistics costs, secure and diversify our supply chain, improve quality control, reduce our tax exposure and avoid exchange rate fluctuations that can significantly affect the cost of goods,” says Ross.

To preserve its relationships with local farmers, the Diageo subsidiary and Cameroonian cooperatives are considering extending the partnership by cultivating maize, which is high in starch. And who knows, maybe one day, they will be growing barley in Cameroon.

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