FTSE 100-listed brewer SABMiller has launched a new cassava beer product in Ghana.
The group reported that the alcoholic beverage would be brewed by SABMiller's local subsidiary, Accra Brewery (ABL), under the brand name 'Eagle' and be sold in 375ml bottles at a price point equal to 70% of mainstream lager.
This had been made possible by a reduced excise rate agreed with the Ghanaian government, which the group said was in recognition of the use of locally-sourced commodities and the long-term contribution that Eagle would be expected to make to agricultural and economic development in the country.
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Cassava is a reliable source of starch across most of Africa, but it starts to degrade almost immediately after it is harvested, which, together with its high water content, makes it unsuitable for transporting over long distances.
The group said that Accra Brewery had partnered with DADTCO (Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company) Cassava Processing Ghana Limited, which had designed a mobile processing unit that traveled to the cassava growing regions and processed the root in situ, insodoing preserving the integrity of the starch.
Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa, said: "Part of our strategy across Africa is to make high quality beer which is affordable for low-income consumers while simultaneously creating opportunities for smallholder farmers in our markets. The launch of Eagle in Ghana ticks both these boxes."
He added that smallholder cassava farmers would have a guaranteed market for their crop, which would be used to make high quality, affordable beer for consumers and the government would realise increased revenues as people traded up into formal, taxable alcohol consumption.
The group said that the initiative was part of SABMiller's 'Farming Better Futures' programme, adding that within the first year, ABL expected to source the cassava from as many as 1,500 smallholder farmers.
Track record: launch of 'Impala' 18 months agoThe launch followed the group's launch of Impala, a commercially-made cassava beer, in Mozambique 18 months ago.
SABMiller's share price was flat at 3,481.50p at 10:09 on Thursday.
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