Beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev training Indian farmers to boost barley output

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New Delhi | Updated: March 27, 2017 8:41:47 PM

World's biggest beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is training Indian farmers to boost barley output as part of its endeavour to increase local procurement and reduce imports.

AB InBev?s Indian subsidiary requires about 50,000 tonnes of barley annually, of which 35,000 tonnes is procured locally and the rest imported. (Reuters)

World’s biggest beer brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is training Indian farmers to boost barley output as part of its endeavour to increase local procurement and reduce imports. Presently, the company’s Indian subsidiary requires about 50,000 tonnes of barley annually, of which 35,000 tonnes is procured locally and the rest imported. Under its ‘Smart barley global program’, the company with France’s biggest grain cooperative Axereal is undertaking joint research on high yielding variety of barley for the last five years at Rajasthan, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

The company has conducted field trial of high yield imported varieties and was showcased to farmers at ‘Kisan Kaushal Sangoshti’ held today at Farukh Nagar, Haryana. “India is a very important market for us. We will continue to reach out to them through the Sangoshti and our SmartBarley program to help create sustainable livelihood and the best possible barley for our business,” AB InBev India President Pedro Aidar said in a statement.

The purpose of the ‘Smart barley program’ is to ensure farmers are able to increase productivity “resulting in local sourcing, reducing our reliance on imports,” the company’s Corporate Affairs Director Devashish Dasgupta said.

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Farmers are also trained on efficient use of machinery for land preparation, sowing, fertilising, and harvesting the crop, he told PTI separately. Asked how the company would supply imported seeds to farmers, he said, “For interested farmers, we will import the breeders seed and multiply it in India and make the certified seeds available here.”

According to Jagdish Yadav, volunteer farmer who’s part of SmartBarley program, said, “Given the lack of right information and high costs of modern machinery, we were using outdated methods to plant and harvest barley and hence losing productivity. Now, through the program we have the right guidance and there has been a considerable increase in our productivity and profitability.”

AB InBev has over 500 brands including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois. It has 11 own breweries and seven contract breweries.

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