Castel Group, one of the dominant players in the beer industry in Africa has reinforced its intention to strengthen the economy in Cameroon by increasing the amount of locally sourced raw materials. Pierre Castel, 93.year old CEO and major shareholder of the beverage group, met on Friday with Cameroon’s President Paul Biya in Yaoundé to discuss investments in the agriculture sector.
“The new investment programme presented by the CEO of Castel group to the Head of State focuses on the development of agriculture in order to reduce the importation of raw materials used to produce brewing products,” the presidency of the republic said in a statement.
Currently, Castel imports about 70% of its raw material like malt and hops mainly from Europe. However, 30% of its needs like 30,000 tons of sugar and 10,000 tons of corn are already sourced locally, hereby supporting 6,000 local farmers and their families.
The aim of the new initiative is to increase the local share of raw materials by investments of about XAF35 billion (USD 60 million) which will generate 15,000 direct and 35,000 indirect jobs.
Castel runs in Cameroon the leading brewery Les Brasseries du Cameroun - Groupe SABC with brewing plants in Koumassi (Douala), Yaoundé, Garoua and Baffoussam, along with a bottling plant in Ndokoti (Douala). According to Wikipedia, Castel owns a 75% share in the company through its subsidiary Les Brasseries et Glaceries d'Indochine (BGI). Heineken (8.8%) and Cameroon's president, Paul Biya, are other major shareholders.