Barley project to bag 1800 tons by end of 2016
The future of the home-grown barley project by Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) looks bright with 377 hectares of barley planted so far according to Project Manager, Martin Krafft
For the year to date, 257 hectares of barley have been planted at Ndonga Linena, 90km east of Rundu and 120 hectares at Shadikongoro, 200 km east of Rundu. The project expects to harvest about 1800 tons of raw barley by the end of November.
According to Krafft, this year the government availed 380 ha. of existing irrigation land to the project specifically for the production of barley. The project is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry; the Agriculture Business Development Agency as managing agent for the Green Schemes projects, and Namibia Breweries Ltd.
This week, the Breweries said “this year is the first year of the 10-year Barley Industry Development Plan (BIDP) which is governed by the MOU and the acting Technical Committee, thus far proving to be a successful Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).”
Krafft said that he remains confident about the future of home-grown barley due to the good collaboration between AgriBusDev, the Farm Managers of Shadikongoro and Ndonga Linena Agricultural Project as well as the O&L internal expertise of Mr. Floris Smith. Namibia Breweries Ltd is a subsidiary of the O&L Group.
Krafft said,“This is a very positive project kick-off. Hopes are high that the barley planted results in a good quality harvest for NBL and decent returns for AgriBusDev as well as the small scale farmers involved. This would allow us to plant more barley next year. Provided we achieve product quality and yield requirements, we aim for a year-on-year increase of +- 1500 hectares per annum.”
“Eventually, the goal is to gradually replace the import of about 40,000 tons of malted barley. NBL intends to source all raw barley locally. This, however, requires investing into a local malting plant which seems to be feasible when the project reaches the benchmark of harvesting 15,000 tons of local raw barley per year,” explained Krafft.
Meanwhile, NBL aims to harvest 12,000 hectares of raw barley over the next ten years. It has imported malted barley as a key ingredient for most of its current beer brands.
NBL initiated and invested in barley trials in 2010 with the intent of establishing a local barley industry that would create jobs and support the local economy as well as the local agricultural sector in rural areas.
Since the commencement of the barley trials, Namibia Breweries Ltd has invested more than N$5, 5 million into the barley project for planning and execution. This includes buying seeds, planting, laboratory work and brewing trials, as well as shipments and transport. This excludes the product innovation work that has gone into developing the new brand, King Lager which is the first local beer to be brewed using homegrown barley.