Brewers in the country are said to be using more of sorghum, a crop that is widely grown in Nigeria in place of barley in beer and malt making.According to a report by BusinessDay, Adamu Batur, Secretary, Sorghum, Millet Farmers Association of Nigeria, said that Nigeria Breweries fayrouz brand is 100 percent sorghum.
“Brewers make use of 70% sorghum as a by-product for brewing beer and malt. The brewery industry is buying so much from sorghum farmers now than before,” Bature said.
According to him, the high demand from brewers shows that the crop has a huge industrial potential.
Sorghum is also used in the food and beverage industry for biscuit and noodles production.
The crop is widely grown in the Northern states, including Kogi and Kwara states.
Industry stakeholders say that the demand for sorghum by industry presents opportunities for entrepreneurs to tap into its production to meet local demand.
According to data obtained from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria is the natural habitat for many varieties of sorghum and the world’s second-largest producer and supplier of the crop. The country produces 11 million metric tons of sorghum per annum while local demand for the crop stands at 12.5 million MT, leaving a gap of 1.5 million MT.
AmehNews recall that “Nigeria Breweries funded sorghum research at the institute and developed a sorghum variety with high malting properties which can be used in place of barley as a by-product for brewing beer and malt,” said Ibrahim Umar Abubakar, Director, Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria.
Abubakar noted that most brewers in the country are ramping up their local sourcing of sorghum.
According to the institute, two varieties of sorghum with malting properties have been released.
“The CSR03H and CSR04H are the two varieties we developed with high malting properties and have been released officially,” said Daniel Aba a sorghum breeder at the Institute for Agricultural Research, Zaria.
Sorghum is native to East Africa. It is the 4th most important cereal after wheat, rice, and maize and is used as a maize substitute for livestock feeds because of their similar nutritional values.
“The stalk from sorghum can be used as livestock feeds while the grains are used for poultry feeds production. It has high protein content than maize,” said Aba.
The crop has the potential to be a huge export earner for the country, but years of low investment, lack of government support and natural vagaries has limited the huge potentials.
As a result, average yield of the crop in Nigeria is low at 0.500 ton per hectare compared to other leading countries which produce between 4.5 to 6 tons per hectare of improved variety.
Most brewery firms in the country are now supplying free inputs such as improved seed varieties to farmers and also giving them technical support in the production of the crop.
Currently, a metric ton of sorghum sells for N900,000 at farmgate price while 100kg bag sells for N9,000.
According to Danjuma Bunshak, a farmer, sorghum, grows all year round but mostly in December through January.
“There are various varieties of the crop. Some take 90days to grow, while some 45 days,” he said.
Bunshak who is also a member of the National Association of Sorghum Producers, Processors and Marketers of Nigeria said that the association has been approached by the Chinese government to start supplying their market.