Food processing plant and equipment supplier Bühler South Africa on Friday launched its 2 t/h mobile Isigayo compact mill, aimed at tackling government’s mandate of developing the small-scale milling sector and improving food security in the Southern African region.
The equipment supplier’s solution was in reaction to the need in South Africa to move the processing of raw maize product into the country.
Although agricultural production of maize in South Africa was flourishing, processing was not answering the need for industrial development in rural and disadvantaged areas, particularly owing to the noticeable lack of small-scale milling provisions.
Bühler Group CEO Calvin Grieder said the technology would create jobs, develop skills and provide affordable and improved nutrition, through vitamin enrichment, as well as empower and generate income for entrepreneurs and existing small-scale millers.
With a low start-up cost and a high return on investment, the Isigayo mill targeted small-to-medium enterprises (SME) millers, commercial maize farmers, small farming communities, as well as entrepreneurs, government and nongovernmental organisations.
Isigayo mill project manager Paul Young told Engineering News Online that the device also enabled cost savings in excess of 30%, as it cut out middlemen by concentrating the harvesting, production and consumption in one place. This afforded rural milling a competitive advantage over the industrial mills located in the big centres.
“The quality of maize meal depends largely on the area it comes from and the mill allows for maize meal to be produced according to the taste of the surrounding community,” he noted.
To date, 24 units had been sold to the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services at $500 000 apiece.
The Isigayo mill requires little infrastructure and is easily transportable, as it is fitted with standard Bühler equipment, preassembled in two containers and pre-engineered as a complete milling plant.
Department of Trade and Industry acting deputy director-general Garth Strachan stated that the mobile milling technology was a ‘game changer’.
“It will introduce new technology that will bring new entrants to the market, build SMEs and lower the price of the most important wage good in our economy. This falls squarely into the policy framework of the government and the Industrial Policy Action Plan,” he said.
Strachan urged South Africa’s manufacturing sector, and the agroprocessing sector in particular, to better position itself to embrace the ample opportunities that existed in the domestic market, as well as the African regional market.
He pointed out that about 30% of global high-yield, underused land was located in sub-Saharan Africa and that the development thereof was hampered by various challenges that included infrastructure constraints. With 28% of its maize imported, Africa currently accounted for 12% of total global maize imports and 2.2% of global exports.
“Africa is now considered the new global frontier for growth. Many African countries have gross domestic product growth rates that exceed the global average,” he indicated, adding that Bühler South Africa’s new technology bore witness to the continent’s opportunities.
“Foreign direct investment, especially in the productive sectors of this economy, is an essential priority for our government and we, therefore, stand [fully] in partnership with [Bühler South Africa] and look forward to a stronger working relationship that includes increasing localisation in the manufacturing of components for the machinery and equipment [it produces],” Strachan said.