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Ethiopia: the cradle of barley

Case study

In the fields around the central Ethiopian town of Sebeta, home of Meta Abo Brewery, an exciting barley development programme is underway. If it succeeds, it could help improve the lives of thousands of small-scale farmers.

The high land around Sebeta is very suitable for growing barley, an essential ingredient for our beer business and a potential cash crop that could make a significant difference to the lives of farmers and to the local economy. In partnership with farmers, the Ethiopian Government's Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Oromia Bureau of Agriculture, and Technoserve, we are developing a scalable farming project that aims to be commercially viable, environmentally sustainable, and socially inclusive.

The project is based on building close relationships with farmers and farmers' co-operatives, and could eventually reach thousands of smallholders. 764 smallholder farmers took part in a pilot involving training and technical assistance, finance, and the sharing of sustainable cultivation practices. It is the first project of its kind in Ethiopia, and early signs are that it has the potential to tap a great source of ingredients.

Ethiopia farmers with Barley