Diageo’s business boost for Ethiopian farmers

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SMALL-SCALE FARMERS WILL SUPPLY TO DIAGEO BREWERY

Gorta-Self Help Africa has joined forces with global drinks giant Diageo to launch a new partnership that aims to boost the incomes of smallholder farming communities in Ethiopia.

The new agreement will see Gorta-Self Help Africa connecting small-scale barley farmers with the brewing company as part of an economic development project that is being backed by the Irish Government.

“We have been working with farmers in the central Oromia region of Ethiopia for some years now, “explained Gorta-Self Help Africa CEO Ray Jordan, “helping them to organize, to increase productivity and to access markets. That work aims to help smallholder farming communities to increase incomes and so work their way out of poverty. We’re delighted that Diageo has now joined this effort in such a strategic way.”

Under the plan, barley seed will be produced by the Gorta-Self Help Africa supported farmers, who will make improved seed available to many more Ethiopian farmers in years to come. Diageo, through its local subsidiary Meta, is supporting the partnership by providing these farmers with training, fertilizer, crop insurance and improved barley seed.

Diageo also hopes to purchase significant quantities of barley seeds from these farmers, working then with its existing network of 6500 smallholder farmers to use the seeds to grow barley that supports the Meta beer brewing process.

“Partnerships like this are a win-win for all involved,” explained Mr. Jordan. “Farmers throughout Ethiopia are struggling with poor quality seed, which results in poor harvests. Irish Aid has been our long-term partner in addressing this problem, and having Diageo join this team to help lift incomes for poor smallholder farmers is what good public-private partnership is all about. The result will see improved incomes for these farmers, achieved in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.”

Minister of State with Responsibility for Overseas Development Aid and Trade, Sean Sherlock T.D., said “Sustainability is key to any development programme and the partnership announced today between Diageo and Gorta –Self Help Africa is an excellent model of sustainability. Smallhold farmers in the Oromia region of Ethiopia will now be in stronger position, enabled by a global company which will itself benefit from an improved end product. Gorta – Self Help Africa continually make these connections and in doing so are making a real long term difference in rural communities.

Diageo Global Director of Sustainability David Croft said “We’re aiming to source 80% of all ingredients for African products within that continent by 2020, and 100% in Ethiopia in the next 2 years. It’s an ambitious target, and partnerships like this will help us achieve that goal. By sourcing more ingredients locally we are able to invest and support the growth of local economies, contributing to the development of those communities, and supporting long term sustainable business and growth with shared value.”