Brana partners on sorghum
Haitian brewer and USAID support local farmers
Brana, Heineken’s brewing operation in Haiti, has pledged to improve the livelihoods of up to 18,000 farmers in the Caribbean country by partially replacing imported malted barley with locally grown sorghum.
The deal, a memorandum of understanding struck between Brana and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), supports the brewer’s five-year SMASH (Smallholders Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti) program launched last year. A common grain in Haiti, sorghum will be used in the production of Brana’s non-alcoholic drink Malta H.
Brana general manager José Matthijsse said the agreement between Brana and USAID shows a joint commitment to generate jobs and improve salaries in Haiti.
She explained: “Through this partnership, USAID will enable SMASH to increase the numbers of regions in which it operates, therefore increasing the number of benefiting farmers.
“USAID’s funding will support training farmers in modern agricultural techniques and enhancing their production standards, thus improving the quality and quantity of locally-grown sorghum.”
According to Matthijsse, the partnership will guarantee that USAID’s investment in agricultural productivity will be sustained by Brana’s sorghum purchases and ensure that farmers benefit long after project completion.
The SMASH initiative will also improve the processing and storage of the grain, establish collection and drying points in key locations to enable quality control, support the development of farmer associations and federations, and organise demonstration plots to introduce new agricultural techniques and seed varieties for the Haitian farmers to increase their income and productivity.
Heineken, which long held a minority interest in Brana and acquired a 95% stake from the beginning of 2012, said at the time that Haiti would be a good place to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability projects.
The Dutch brewer is partnering with subsistence framers and NGOs around the world, most recently in Sierra Leone. Here, too, Heineken has committed to source sorghum that is cultivated locally.
Pictured: Mark A. White action mission director USAID and José Matthijsse, general manager BRANA Brewery