Heineken’s local sourcing project in Sierra Leone is part of the company’s Africa-wide strategy to procure at least 60% of its raw materials locally. Moreover, the Sierra Leone case has stimulated local entrepreneurship, created hundreds of new jobs for local population and increased smallholder farmers’ incomes significantly, thereby alleviating poverty.

“We are extremely proud to receive this award,” stated Tom de Man, Regional President Heineken Africa & Middle East. “Our project in Sierra Leone is one of many efforts to empower the communities in which we operate. It is a testament to the successful co-operation between public development institutions and private sector stakeholders. ”

Sierra Leone Sorghum Project

Since 1988, Heineken has been developing its sorghum brewing technology and know-how. The award-winning project in Sierra Leone was established in 2005 with the goal to develop a sustainable local supply chain for Sierra Leone Breweries Ltd (SLBL). SLBL trained farmers in good agricultural practices, organised bulking and transport and tested new sorghum varieties for better processing quality and yield. The sustainable local supply chain was established with co-funding of the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), an international institution that specialises in commodity development.

Benefits to all

The project has helped local farmers compete against imported grains. It has raised smallholder farmers’ incomes derived from sorghum, which has directly contributed to the alleviation of poverty for this critical group of farmers.

Locally produced sorghum shortens the supply chain and diversification of raw material sourcing, both beneficial to local farmers and SLBL. Reducing grain imports leads to savings of scarce foreign currency for Sierra Leone. More importantly however, hundreds of local smallholder farmers in Sierra Leone now have a cash income. This all led to the creation of solid relationships and trust between all stakeholders in the new supply chain.

Common Fund for Commodities
The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) is an intergovernmental Institution established within the framework of the United Nations that focuses on financing commodity development activities. Over the past 20 years, the Fund has leveraged its resources and has been able to provide assistance of over 500 million USD, almost double of its own contribution, to meet the critical development needs of its 106 member countries. Target beneficiaries of CFC financed projects are smallholder farmers, as well as small and medium sized enterprises involved in commodity production, processing and trade in developing and least developed countries. Due to its presence in The Netherlands, the Common Fund enjoys long standing relationships with a large number of Dutch private and public entities that engage in commodity production, trade and development.