Sabrina Sanchez
Apr 5, 2023

Nativa turns used beer bottles into rain gauge meters to support Colombian farmers

The initiative gives farmers the ability to measure rainfall to protect their crops.

Nativa turns used beer bottles into rain gauge meters to support Colombian farmers

Nativa beer, owned by Bavaria-AB InBev, is one of the only beers brewed from cassava, a popular root harvested in Colombia. So when AB InBev and creative agency L&C New York learned that Colombian farmers lost more than 4.9 million acres of crops to heavy rainfall last year, it felt natural for the brand to devise a solution to preserve crops in its latest sustainability initiative. 

On Monday, L&C New York and Nativa launched the “Nativa Meter,” a campaign that redesigns beer bottles to function as a rain gauge to measure precipitation. 

Keeping the same proportions of the original bottle, the brand and agency’s creative teams worked together with a Colombian meteorologist, Jhon Jairo Valencia, to develop measurement indicators that mark the number of liters or milliliters of rainfall per square meter.  A guide on the back of the label explains the different levels of rainfall and whether they are a benefit or a risk to farmers' crops.

The purpose of the gauge is to give Colombian countryside farmers information about when to make adjustments to protect their crops as well as find a second use for the beer bottles.

“One of the main problems is that a lot of the farmers use more dated, traditional methods to see the rain patterns, and they're not so accurate,” said Gian Carlo Lanfranco, founder and CCO at L&C New York. “[But this is] a circular campaign. By protecting the cassava [from heavy rainfall] with this tool, we're also protecting the main ingredient of the beer.” 

As a result, there is a ripple effect: farmers’ income and food supply is protected, as well as an international food supply that is traded, sold and imported from Colombia. The campaign has three sustainability touch points: recycling, food and crop preservation and access to technological resources to an underserved population.

“When you dig into it, it's a scale based on historical data from the region that understands exactly what the concerns of the farmers are, and translates that into a very simple analog tool that provides education in a very easy, accessible way,” said Camden Elizabeth, executive producer at Suitcase Productions. “It might seem simple on the surface, but the innovation truly is quite remarkable.”

In addition to the bottles, Bavaria-AB InBev created a Whatsapp line where farmers can submit photos of their rainfall-filled bottles to record the data. From there, the data will be used to calculate the rain averages in municipalities in the Córdoba region and make predictions for the following rain season. 

Starting in May, the campaign will be expanded to Sucre, Bolivar, Cesar and Valle del Cauca, Colombia. 

The campaign is an effort to make a direct impact with a solution for a community affected by climate change, Lanfranco explained.

“Floods caused by rain destroy a lot of farmland everywhere, not necessarily [just] in Colombia. So the initiative is starting in that market, but the idea is to have it become something regional, and hopefully something global,” he said, noting that the impact of climate change in one place affects everyone, everywhere.



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