According to the United Nations’ Global Land Outlook report, nearly half of the world’s agricultural land is degraded, meaning the soil quality has been negatively impacted in some way. The UN World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization have collectively identified regenerative farming as a critical shift needed to help improve soil health and ensure future generations have access to farmable land.
At AB InBev, we rely on high-quality natural ingredients like barley and hops to brew our beers, working directly with local farmers in multiple countries to harvest these ingredients while also helping to sustain healthy farming ecosystems. Our agronomists, research teams and partners provide farmers with access to tools and more resilient crop varieties, while promoting regenerative agriculture techniques, such as diversifying crops and minimal tilling, as a way to help keep the soil healthy. Regenerative agriculture practices can also reduce carbon emissions and restore biodiversity, while increasing farmer productivity.
“Empowering farmers to improve soil health is critical to building a resilient supply chain and creating long-term benefits in the places where we operate,” said Andre Fourie, Global Vice President, Sustainability at AB InBev. “We recognize there is no one-size-fits-all approach, that’s why we prioritize systems-based solutions and technologies, like our framework for soil health, developed with The Nature Conservancy.”
The framework can be applied across the spectrum of farm sizes, crops and regions, from commercial barley farmers in the United States to smallholder sorghum farmers in Uganda. We tailor our actions to meet local needs, such as:
Barley farmers in Mexico are exploring how healthy soils better infiltrate and retain water, which can help enhance crop productivity and profitability, and mitigate the effects of droughts and floods. Through our Aguas Firmes project, a partnership between our local brewer Grupo Modelo and GIZ, farmers are adopting framework practices, including crop rotation, minimum tillage and soil cover. In 2022, we worked with local farmers in Apán and Zacatecas to implement more sustainable agricultural practices over more than 1,415 hectares across both sites, which helped increase water infiltration by approximately 1.77 million cubic meters.
At our model farm in the drought-prone Western Cape of South Africa, shifting to minimum till farming has improved soil structure and yields, reduced erosion and increased soil carbon storage. Our model farm demonstrates the viability of these regenerative practices and has helped encourage similar changes among barley farmers in the region.
Learn more about AB InBev’s progress and commitment to regenerative agriculture in our 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report.