Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) has moved to clarify over reports that the giant brewing company has cancelled orders for barley farmers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, KBL says it has taken necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the pandemic to farmers pledging to honour all barley and sorghum contracts issued in the current financial year (2020-2021) and pay all the farmers once they harvest.
“We have honoured all the contracts for the financial year 2019/2020, purchasing approx. 45,000 tons of barley and 32,000 tons of sorghum. We paid all the farmers,” the statement adds.
Citing the government’s COVID-19 containment measures that have included the closure of on-trade outlets that has seen demand for barley and sorghum significantly drop, the company says it has already contacted its registered farmers to notify them on the development.
KBL saying in the event trade is reopened, it will review its grain demand upwards for farmers to supply more as the demand for beer rebounds.
The clarification by the company comes in the wake of claims by barley farmers from Narok County indicating that the company had cancelled orders until further notice.
“For the last three years, the East African Maltings Limited (EAML) team has not sourced barley from the farmer quoted in the article. He is therefore not in our records of farmers growing barley for EABL,” noted the company.
Narok County produces the bulk of barley consumed in the country with the crop remaining a lifeline for many farmers from the region.