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‘Flip-around technique wanted for SA’s malting barley trade’


South Africa’s malting barley producers have confronted a variety of challenges lately. Photograph: FW Archive

South Africa’s malting barley manufacturing fell 95 000t in need of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) 360 000t-mandate throughout the previous season, as a consequence of farmers fairly planting crops with decrease threat, equivalent to canola and wheat.

“Barley manufacturing is at an all-time low. We’d like a turn-around technique to make it enticing to farmers once more,” José de Kock, chairperson of Grain SA’s Barley Business Committee, stated throughout the organisation’s current regional annual normal assembly in Rietpoel, Western Cape.

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He stated drought circumstances negatively affected yields within the Swartland and Southern Cape areas between 2017 and 2019, whereas COVID-19-related bans on the sale of liquor that began in 2020, resulted in a surplus that was 49% larger than the earlier 12 months.

AB InBev lowered its consumption in response, from 475 000t to 365 000t, which farmers struggled to succeed in due to varied challenges.

De Kock defined that Swartland farmers solely produced 6 000t of their 22 000t-mandate, due to a stand-off between AB InBev and silo firms over the storage of barley.

Farmers who took the chance of planting barley ended up having to move their crops from the Swartland to the Southern Cape area.

“AB InBev is in negotiations to handle the difficulty, which can hopefully be resolved earlier than the subsequent planting season begins in April,” he added.

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Within the Southern Cape areas, chilly circumstances firstly of the season negatively affected plant biomass, resulting in decrease yields in contrast with wheat, ensuing within the area not reaching its 269 000t-mandate. The scenario was exacerbated by wet circumstances throughout the harvesting interval.

“It was a difficult season. A whole lot of barley was downgraded to feed-grade due to low nitrogen ranges,” De Kock stated.

Manfred Venter, head of agriculture at AB InBev, stated the corporate wish to enhance its mandate by one other 62 000t between 2025 and 2027, and that the corporate was within the means of addressing previous errors by engaged on buyer relations and communication with farmers and storage firms.

One other problem was the ‘mind drain’ that adopted AB InBev’s take-over of SA Breweries in 2017, he stated.

“Lengthy-term storage agreements are a excessive precedence for us, as we realise it’s counterproductive to solely work on annual contracts with storage firms. A whole lot of effort can also be positioned on lengthening workers turn-around instances,” Venter stated.

Richard Krige, vice chairperson of Grain SA, known as on AB InBev to cease forcing farmers to solely use licensed seed.

“Farmers have been saving seed for years to scale back enter prices, so let’s work on an answer that may enable us to proceed this observe with out negatively affecting malting barley high quality.”

As well as, Krige requested for pre-harvest samples to be taken to establish issues earlier than they happen, and for trade function gamers to share data in real-time, to assist trade members make higher choices.

De Kock stated AB InBev had been investing in new expertise and improved communication with farmers over the previous 12 months, however stated the corporate and different function gamers within the provide chain, equivalent to seed firms, co-operatives, silo suppliers and logistics firms, must attend barley trade committee conferences to make sure the long-term sustainability of the trade.



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