AB InBev empowers African farmers with blockchain

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Sameer Jooma, AB InBev’s Solutions Africa director of innovation and analytics.
Sameer Jooma, AB InBev’s Solutions Africa director of innovation and analytics.

Multinational drink and brewing company AB InBev’s partnership with blockchain firm BanQuis uplifting smallholder farmers in Africa.

US-based BanQu has developed what it calls the first blockchain economic identity technology solution, which enables a secure and immutable platform for creating economic opportunities for people around the world who are refugees, and those living at the tail end of supply chains, who are economically disconnected.

The solution enables smallholder farmers, who form part of AB InBev’s value chain, to monitor sales of their barley, sorghum and cassava crops, to receive cash through a mobile money solution.

It also gives AB InBev better line of sight when it comes to its supply chain, helping the company to intervene to make sure farmers have the resources they need to grow and prosper.

Since the second implementation of the solution was unveiled earlier this year in Uganda, through Nile Breweries, AB InBev says 1 200 farmers have signed up on the BanQu blockchain platform.

AB InBev’s Solutions Africa director of innovation and analytics, Sameer Jooma, explains that BanQu’s solution can be applied to almost any industry.

“Most people have a rudimentary understanding of blockchain because it is the platform that enables Bitcoin transactions.

“What BanQu has done, as the world’s first company to offer this solution, is to take this technology and expand it beyond crypto-currency. After all, what is being moved is information, because even money can be distilled down to data now.”

AB InBev and BanQu’s partnership dates back to August 2018, when they launched a successful pilot project in Zambia.

Successive rollouts in Uganda, Zambia, India and Brazil have since taken place, making Brazil the fourth market where BanQu will assist AB InBev in reaching the global brewer’s 2025 sustainability goals.

Another benefit to AB InBev’s smallholder farmers, which has recently been made available by BanQu, is the integration of mobile money, which means that farmers do not have to walk around with cash that could be stolen, according to the company.

The partnership gives AB InBev Africa better visibility of farmers in the supply chain, and the group can easily see how much, and when, a farmer was paid, as well as create invoices and track produce from the farm to the brewery through geo-location tags.

The brewer can also connect with farmers to ensure they receive the training and resources they need.

“These farmers now have access to full accounting information, such as sales price, volume sold, and payment – with this information made available via SMS. They also have records that they can take to the bank, allowing them access to credit and form a verifiable economic identity.

AB InBev has also invested an undisclosed amount in BanQu, through ZX Ventures, the company’s global growth and innovation group.

BanQu co-founder and CEO Ashish Gadnis explains: “Almost 2.7 billion people across the globe don’t have access to credit or other banking services, because they don’t have what we call an economic identity – the data record of their financial position. BanQu seeks to solve this dilemma by providing auditable financial records, which are bankable, allowing more people to participate in the global economy.”

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