Smart Solutions: Cassava Beer

Cassava, Its a crop that's highly grown all over Africa but hardly ever used as a cash crop due to it degrading nature almost immediately after harvests making it hard for farmers to transport it. SABMiller's New Beer Impala is just about to change this

SABMiller has launched a cassava beer in Ghana, the global brewing giant said on Thursday, and this will bolster its strategy of wooing low-income home-brew drinkers in African markets.It also builds on the success of the world’s first commercially made cassava beer‚ Impala‚ which SABMiller unveiled in Mozambique 18 months ago.Producers of alcoholic beverages stand to benefit from the growing consumer market in Africa as more people on the continent move out of poverty, according to Moody’s Investors Service.The beer will be brewed by SABMiller’s local subsidiary Accra Brewery under the brand name Eagle.

The launch of Eagle will provide an opportunity to turn locally grown cassava into a cash crop‚ for farmers to generate income.Much of the cassava in Ghana is grown by subsistence farmers and there is an estimated 40% surplus each year, partly because there is little opportunity for farmers to sell it in commercial markets.Absa Investments analyst Chris Gilmour said: "Up until recently, the limiting factor with cassava, which is the most widely grown crop in the whole of Africa, has been that it goes off within about 24 hours. SABMiller has the technology that allows for the harvesting and the subsequent treatment of the cassava pretty much on site."Eagle is aimed at attracting low-income consumers away from illicit alcohol. This is a virtuous circle: smallholder cassava farmers have a guaranteed market for their crop‚ which is then used to make consistently high quality‚ affordable beer for consumers; and the government realises increased revenues as people trade up into formal‚ taxable alcohol consumption‚" SABMiller Africa MD Mark Bowman said.