In 2016, South African Breweries (SAB) launched FarmSol through the SAB Thrive Fund, to address a growing need for emerging farmer development support.
FarmSol’s aim, therefore, is to grow the collective power of smallholder farmers by unearthing and sustaining the value agriculture presents to them, and graduate participants into thriving commercial businesses.
FarmSol started out as the implementation partner of SAB, offering support services to emerging and smallholder farmers under the SAB GO-FARMING programme, and became involved in other agricultural development initiatives as part of the ABInBev and SAB merger.
By 2020, FarmSol had supported more than 520 farmers of which 183 were female. Beneficiaries are spread through eight provinces in South Africa, primarily producing barley and non-genetically modified maize for beer production.
For long-term production sustainability, farmers are encouraged to produce these crops in rotation with wheat, canola, oats, ground nuts and other feed and cash crops, depending on the production region, market opportunities and farming system.
The farmer support programme is not only making a major contribution to the success of smallholder farmers, but also boosting rural development and poverty alleviation by increasing household incomes. In 2019, the company paid farmer profits of over R15 million to 139 participants, with an average pay-out of R 107 000.
Impact assessment is done throughout the programme to ensure support strategies and services are producing the targeted outcomes.