One of the most successful examples of SmartBarley in action comes from Mexico, where, in 2015, we announced that all barley required to meet our local malt house capacity would be sourced locally by 2017. We've gone from sourcing 70% of barley locally in 2014 to 86% in 2016 and we're on track to achieve 100% local sourcing by 2017. To achieve this, we built up an agriculture team of 20 agronomists and four researchers to directly support farmers to produce malting quality barley.
Using SmartBarley, we've identified key supply chain gaps and implemented a number of projects to help growers optimize production and profitability while minimizing their environmental impact. These include:
- Developing three new barley varieties which provide increased yields and incomes for farmers;
- Providing farmers with access to newer farm equipment by financing 100% of the cost;
- Utilizing technology to optimize fertilizer use;
- Promoting conservation agriculture practices; and
- Creating Conecta Modelo, a pilot project with 150 barley farmers that use mobile devices to receive climate, market and technical information.
Currently, we engage our direct growers in SmartBarley, which includes growers in our contracting programs and those supported by our own agronomists. We want to increase our impact, which is why we are expanding this model by engaging our third-party barley suppliers. Our third-party suppliers in Brazil, UK and India are now participating in SmartBarley. We are also mapping out how this model can be applied to other crops including hops, rice, sorghum and cassava.
To read more on our SmartBarley programs around the world, visit www.ab-inbev.com/smartbarley and www.smartbarley.com