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Management of the Barley Emerging Farmers Economic Development (BE-FED) Program, South Africa

The Barley Emerging Farmers Economic Development (BE-FED) project in South Africa was a Public Private Partnership between the Dutch Government (through co-funding by RVO), Heineken Int, Malteries Soufflet and ICCO. The objective of the project was to develop a sustainable barley supply chain in South Africa by connecting emerging black farmers to Heineken via a planned new malting plant. This was to be achieved by mentoring emerging farmers to become commercial malt barley-growing farmers. The total budget of the project was EUR 1,771,964, of which EUR 449,193 was a grant from RVO. The remaining budget was divided equally between Heineken and Soufflet.

The role of ICCO was to select and train selected farmers, to manage production loans provided by Heineken to the farmers, and to provide overall project management. From November 2017 until the end of the project in March 2020, project management was outsourced to F&S Consulting in the context of a Cooperation Agreement between ICCO and F&S. The project management was implemented by Paul Sijssens.

The project can be seen as a pilot, testing different aspects of the barley value chain such as production by emerging farmers, contract farming, farmer identification & selection, training & mentoring, management of production loans, harvesting and project administration. The project was conceived on the basis that a maltery would be built by Soufflet for the malting of barley produced by the emerging black farmers in the project. The construction of the new maltery was postponed various times, eventually beyond the lifetime of the project. Therefore, the number of farmers, and the amount of barley to be produced, had to be kept low, since there was no capacity yet to malt the barley. The number of farmers gradually increased from 7 in 2016 to 43 in 2019.

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