Brewing a better future: creating a transition by collaboration throughout the whole supply chain

Local processing

With Brassivoire, HEINEKEN and CFAO opened one of West Africa's most modern breweries in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Brassivoire, has an ambition to source the agricultural raw materials they need for beer production locally as much as possible, securing sustainable supply and improving the livelihoods of rural communities. To support this vision, Brassivoire implemented the KRISPI project (Korhogo Rice Sector Performance Improvement) in collaboration with FairMatch Support and GIZ (the German agency for international development collaboration).

FairMatch Support was recommended by the Dutch government and we experienced a good fit. FairMatch Support had the experience and knowledge in Cote d’Ivoire to find, organise and connect the relevant parties needed to create a sustainable supply chain. The professionals at FairMatch Support not only analyse and develop plans, they also coach the actors across the end-to end value chain to ensure that implementation is effective. They understand our business and are working together with us.

Paul Stanger, Heineken

FairMatch Support works on the philosophy that a supply chain is only sustainable if there is a win-win for all actors involved. By connecting the rice producers with the processors and the processors with the market, an inclusive, traceable and sustainable supply chain is being developed from field to fork (and glass). We talked to Paul Stanger, Heineken’s local sourcing director for Africa and the Middle East and to Laurent Théodore of Brassivoire about the collaboration with FairMatch Support.

Paul Stanger: “We are constantly looking to grow our business in a sustainable way. We saw great market opportunities in Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies and the government welcomed a new player to invest in the market”.

Agriculture is an important sector for the country. 70% of the population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but most of them remain subsistence farmers. Investments in local sourcing and improvement of farming practices provide farmers higher incomes and Brassivoire with a sustainable source of raw materials, reduced exposure to volatile prices and reduced transport costs. Based on a shared sustainable development vision, Brassivoire and GIZ set up the KRISPI project; a public-private partnership as a pilot to profesionalise local rice production in the Korhogo region in the North of Cote d’Ivoire.

Creating an inclusive white rice supply chain

For their local sourcing strategy, Brassivoire and GIZ collaborated with FairMatch Support. Herman uit de Bosch, director FairMatch Support: “We set-up a pilot project with Brassivoire. The lessons learned from this pilot helps scaling-up of the local sourcing strategy. Rice is grown a lot in Côte d’Ivoire, but the supply chain is not organised very well. Farmers are often not connected to professional processing. This offers opportunities for the farmers to professionalise and to be linked to markets, leading to sustainable standards of living. Because the country imports rice mainly from Asia, the Ivorian government works on a programme for national rice production to keep additional value in the country. The pilot project fits well with this programme. Collaborating with the government is very important, it’s much easier for private companies like Brassivoire to succeed. The aim of the project was to set-up a framework for a sustainable supply chain from smallholder rice farmers to Brassivoire. Finding a local market for the white rice was beyond the scope of the project”.

Laurent Théodore, Brassivoire GM: “Beer is typically made from malted barley, hops, yeast, and water. However, there are other ingredients that can be used such as rice. Fine brisure is a 5% by-product of rice production and it is a good ingredient for brewing beer. An important lesson learned from the collaboration with FairMatch Support was the importance of creating an inclusive and whole supply chain. We could have only focused on the by-product that we need but we learned that you have to develop the whole supply chain in order to make a sustainable impact. This insight is of great importance for Brassivoire”.

Sustainable business for all actors in the chain

FairMatch Support supports companies, producers and other actors in the supply chain and matches them together. The starting point is that there is a market and a profitable business case for everyone involved in the supply chain. Herman uit de Bosch: “After identifying the actors in the local rice supply chain from the farmers to the brewery, FairMatch Support analysed what was needed for each actor to create an inclusive chain”.

From subsistence farming to small-scale commercial agriculture

For the smallholder farmers, FairMatch Support provided agricultural support and training to improve the productivity and quality of the product by utilising better agricultural practices and to negotiate with the buying processors. This resulted in improvement of the product, a higher yield, farmers becoming a professional trading partner in the chain and the possibility to take a step from subsistence farming to small-scale commercial agriculture.

Connected to professional processing

By linking production with processing, the farmer benefits from a more stable market for their product. Herman uit de Bosch: “As part of the national rice production programme an investment was made in processing mills. We connected farmers to a local processor in the north of the country. This local processor buys the paddy rice from the smallholder farmer cooperatives and processes it into white rice for consumption in the food market, with Brassivoire buying the by-product. FairMatch Support coached the local processor on becoming a professional partner in the supply chain. This includes coaching in their contact with farmer cooperatives, setting up contracts, setting up and fulfilling agreements regarding volumes, prices, quality and logistics and coordinating quality management.”

Paul Stanger: “During our pilot project we build a framework for future collaboration between the farmers’ cooperatives and the processor and between the processor and Brassivoire.

GIZ: “One thing that we learned in this journey has been the important role the farmer organisations can play in the commercialisation of rice. Rice is a food crop and the demand for local production is currently being addressed by informal buyers who absorb the available surplus production beyond the household consumption of farmers. In the KRISPI project, FMS trained 10 cooperatives and aggregators to increase their management capacities and support farmers in finding attractive markets for their produce in the absence of formal buyers. This has prepared the ground for these organisations to play a pivotal role in the professionalisation of the rice sector in the years to come and as essential elements such as input finance, improved seed access and small-scale mechanisation are put into place in the value chain.”

High quality rice buyer essential in the value chain

Paul Stanger: “One of the main lessons learned from this pilot project is that all partners in the supply chain must be fully aligned. The first steps of the value chain are now professionalising and we now need the next actors in the chain to play their roles fully. The aim now must be to develop the local market for high-quality food rice, by establish the connections from the processors to local retailers and from the retailers to local consumers. If these market connections are not strong enough, the value chain will not be sustainable for the long term”.

FairMatch Support understands our business

Paul Stanger: “Our core business is brewing great beers. We do have some experience in agricultural practice, but we don’t have enough knowledge and experience to set up a whole new sustainable supply chain on our own. For this, we need partners who bring the expertise in the right areas and collaborating in PPPs like KRISPI allows us to do more and faster to increase the chances of sustainable success. The professionals at FairMatch Support not only analyse and develop plans, they also coach the actors across the end-to end value chain to ensure that implementation is effective. They understand our business and are working together with us".

Herman uit de Bosch: “Heineken is an exceptional organisation as they have serious roots in the various countries they operate. They realise they are in the country for the long run and in order to be successful, have to contribute to the local society as well. They combine their global sustainability goals in the logic of the local context. They operate as a partner sharing thoughts to make jointly the best out of it.”


They are willing to make a true difference in sustainable business

We work worldwide with a variety of agricultural products. Our programs are always conducted in cooperation with our global network of like minded local business development organisations.


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