When people think about Africa, breathtaking savannas teaming with migratory wildlife is generally the first thought that comes to mind. What doesn’t come to mind, however, is a robust micro-brewing industry that utilizes the fermentation properties of the locally sourced cassava plant. In an attempt to challenge previously held notions regarding beer brewing in Africa, production of Impala brand cassava beer is helping to usher in new economic opportunities for Ghanaian farmers.
Thanks to the investment of brewer SABMiller, Impala beer – brewed from the cassava plant – was recently launched in Ghana. How does cassava beer help economic development in Africa? Until recently, cassava farming had been dismissed as an economic failure due to the high costs associated with transferring and processing the root-like product.
Enter innovative DATCO engineers and their ingenious development of a mobile cassava processing unit that enables cassava harvesting to be economically feasible. So for those rural cassava farmers previously hampered by transportation constraints, the new processing units and subsequent production of cassava beer will help to bolster demand for their crops, leading to greater economic gains.
In regards to SABMiller’s investment in cassava beer and the economic benefits to local farmers, Accra Brewery Director Adjoba Kyiamah noted that though more than 70% of Ghanaian farms, most of which grow cassava, are 3 hectares or smaller, there is a current annual surplus of around 40%.
The economic possibilities that stem from both the production and sales of Impala brand cassava beer are nothing less that astonishing, and underpins the business sustainability currently lacking from many developing countries. Remarked SABMiller Director Mark Bowman, “The idea here then is to try and create a win-win proposition, where we have a strong group of farmers contracted to producing grains for us of whatever form.”
Source: How we Made it in Africa
Photo: Hanna Clark Steinman