KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 16 – UK Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Honourable Alok Sharma has lauded Diageo’s Sh14 billion investment at the Kisumu Brewery, noting created over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, half of which have been taken up by women.
Sharma inspected the state-of-the-art brewery in Kisumu, Wednesday and was conducted on a tour of sorghum farms that form part of the EABL value chain in the western region.
The minister was in Kenya to promote the UK Africa Investment Summit that is taking place on the 20th of January in London with an aim of showcasing UK’s offer to Africa and vice versa.
“I have visited the women’s cooperative in Kisumu, which has been working with support from Diageo to get them integrated into the supply chain. What I am really proud of is that we have a British company, which is making sure that it’s not just about profits for its shareholders, but it is also about supporting employment and particularly about economic empowerment for women here in Kenya and across Africa,” said Sharma.
I am also pleased to hear that as a result of the work that Diageo has been doing, there are 100,000 extra indirect jobs that are being created, with half of these opportunities being taken up by women,” he added.
The facility is among the most advanced breweries in Africa with the capacity to produce one million hectoliters of Senator Keg within five years of operation. The plant will be an efficient operation for KBL with key investments in renewable energy such as biomass and solar as well as investment in water recovery.
The plant will mainly produce Senator Keg; a value beer made from locally sourced sorghum and is expected to have a huge impact in the economic development of the Western and Lake Region.
KBL Managing Director, Jane Karuku said that the company is ready to power economic growth in the region, and was keen on ensuring that the company’s economic benefits are shared with local communities, thus improving livelihoods.
“KBL is fully committed to running a sustainable business and boosting the economy of this region. With the establishment of this facility, we will be making a huge impact on the lives of thousands of people across our value chain. We are very happy to host Hon. Sharma as it shows that there’s a lot of cooperation between the UK and Kenya governments, Kenyan private sector, international private sector such as Diageo as well as the Kenyan people. As he visited, we were sharing the work we have done in the total integrated supply chain starting from the farmers,” said Karuku.
“As you are aware, this plant has recruited 17,000 sorghum farmers from this region. We visited some of them who have made incredible progress in sorghum production and I am very pleased to some very happy farmers especially women groups,” added Karuku.
The Kisumu plant will also be an energy efficient operation for KBL because of their investment in biomass, where they burn waste to create additional energy to power the plant and also the solar panels that are already supplying 10% of the plant’s energy requirements. KBL has also invested in an efficient water management system that will enable them reduce the amount of water used per hectolitre of beer brewed by 15% that would be deemed as global best practice.