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The journey from farm to glass


The journey from farm to glass

With a long-term vision to build a resilient company for the next 100+ years, the world's leading brewer, AB InBev, is working towards achieving its 2025 Sustainability Goals focused on Smart Agriculture, Water Stewardship, Circular Packaging and Climate Action.

Committed to delivering the highest quality products to consumers, AB InBev's global Smart Agriculture goal facilitates the company's best-in-class brewing process with the finest grains. To achieve this, AB InBev is building a community of skilled, connected and financially empowered farmers globally, across 13 countries and five continents.

Leveraging scientific research, traditional knowledge and cutting-edge technology, AB InBev is working closely with farmer communities across the world to cultivate superior variants of local crops such as corn, rice, barley, hops, cassava and sorghum.

In India, AB InBev has worked with over 1,200 farmers. It has made huge strides in skill development, connecting and financially empowering its farmer base, helping improve productivity and profitability, while utilizing natural resources more efficiently. 100% of the company's farmers in India are Skilled and Connected, while 98% of the local farmer base is Financially Empowered. We look at how AB InBev is propelling agricultural development and transforming livelihoods in the Indian farmer community, powering the journey from farm to bottle in India.

  1. Skill development

A critical part of the Smart Agriculture initiative involves keeping farmers updated with rapid developments in the field of science, agri-business and technology. The aim is to help them adopt profitable, soil-friendly and resource-efficient farming techniques. This enables optimisation of crop quality, yield, and consequently, a substantial improvement in income. Through an ongoing partnership with the Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, AB InBev is focusing on upskilling barley farmers. Adapting to the new normal to ensure project continuity, AB InBev's SmartBarley team is undertaking digital trainings on Zoom and making content available to communities via YouTube, in addition to in-person training programs, helping drive skilling across 100% of the farmer base.

The company is also working on soil testing and is aiding the creation of personal advisories for farmers. It is also devising methodologies to be applied during the crop cycle, from seed procurement to harvesting.

Employing a holistic approach, the SmartBarley team has further collaborated with the National Skills Foundation of India to work on responsible sourcing, implementing safe farming practices and empowering women in farming households.

  1. Staying connected

Making use of the platform "Kisan Hub", the AB InBev team digitally monitors crop growth across its farmer base. To supplement digital monitoring, the company employs regular field visits through its regional teams for crop inspection, dissemination of advisories, mitigation of agricultural risks through activities like pest control, weather-preparedness, etc. In addition to this comprehensive monitoring framework the SmartBarley team uses SMS and mobile phones to remain connected with their communities.

With the data gathered, AB InBev identifies gaps and opportunities for improving farm produce. It also ensure timeliness in operations to conserve water and increase the efficiency of irrigation techniques. Even as the pandemic continues, AB InBev keeps the two-way flow of information going to ensure that farmers are continually supported.

  1. Financial empowerment

One of the key objectives of the SmartBarley program's farmer training module is boosting the income of farming households. The AB InBev team facilitates a smooth and efficient harvest, storage and transfer of crops for sale. In 2020, to assist farmers during the pandemic, the SmartBarley team created a blueprint that enabled ease in access to machinery for harvesting and cleaning barley. It also offered insight into ramping up storage infrastructure, including the provision of gunny bags for storage at farms. Once the markets reopened, this blueprint allowed for the delivery of barley in a timely manner. AB InBev helped maintain the quality of barley which enabled farmers to sell it back at a premium, ensuring increase in income by 25% for the farmers compared to open market rates.

Tying all these initiatives together is AB InBev's Responsible Sourcing Policy, which identifies the supply chain risks and drives impactful transformation through productive solutions. AB InBev has created a strong structure to identify gaps in best practices. Namely, by looking at areas such as women empowerment, farm health and safety, human rights etc. Through this comprehensive approach, the company is reducing supply risks and generating a thriving agricultural ecosystem to foster strong and healthy farm community's world over.