SABMiller, a large worldwide brewing company, makes Impala Beer from local African ingredients using a mobile Dutch processing unit (from the Dutch Agricultural and Trading Company, DADTCO).
The locally grown cassava (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub that has a starchy root that is high in carbohydrates, it is also used to make tapioca. It is a major food source in the tropics and SABMiller buys and processes the cassava locally too.
"By creating market opportunities for subsistence farmers in our value chains, we are able to increase their productivity, allowing them to feed their families and generate an income for the first time," explained Andy Wales for SABMiller. The company is currently buying cassava from more than 1,500 smallholders.
Andy Wales implements SABMiller’s Ten Sustainable Development Priorities; identifying social, economic and environmental issues within the group’s strategies and business plans. This covers areas of risk such as water scarcity as well as areas of opportunity such as promoting local economic growth through smallholder farming.
It seems the beer also tastes good according to Wales. "It's excellent, not too dissimilar from a regular lager. It looks exactly like any other beer - golden and sparkling with a foam head."
A locally sourced beer, that encourages smallholder farmers to grow a commercially useful crop sounds like a great idea! But, how's the hangover?