AB InBev honours commitments to buy crops during Covid-19

28 July 2020

AB InBev is supporting smallholder farmers by honouring commitments to buy crops despite global lockdowns. 

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, partnered with international development non-profit Technoserve to strengthen its smallholder farmer programmes, which became critical as the pandemic spread globally. 

The brewer, which owns brands such as Becks, Budweiser and Corona, works with more than 20,000 farmers in 13 counties to buy ingredients including grain, hops, water and yeast. 

AB InBev upheld its commitments to purchase barley from farmers in Mexico at the originally promised price despite being forced to suspend brewery operations in the country due to the outbreak. 

“We also ensured timely payments so that farmers had cash on hand to feed and protect their families, and plan financially for the next growing season,” the firm said.

It provided farmers with personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitiser after Mexico saw price inflation of up to 40 times the typical cost for such items.

In India lockdowns prevented farmers from hiring seasonal help to harvest barley. There was a lack of on-site storage and farmers aired concerns over insect infestation and moisture levels threatening the quality of crops.

AB InBev worked with farmers to provide storage solutions and safety equipment and upheld its promise to purchase the harvest, regardless of quality. 

The outbreak has affected smallholder farms that are typically family-run operations with limited access to resources, storage options and labour. 

“The pandemic has exacerbated these issues with disruptions in logistics, transportation, labour availability, and uncertainty for farmers who are worried whether or not their crops will still be purchased as entire industries come to a halt,” AB InBev said. 

The firm added it would build on learnings from the pandemic to strengthen the resilience of its smallholder supply chains against future shocks.

Katie Hoard, global director of agriculture innovation and sustainability, said: “AB InBev has deep connections with our farmers and local communities. It’s essential that we meet their critical needs and safeguard the livelihoods of our farmers and their families to help them survive, and ultimately, rebound from the pandemic.”

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