New compact maize milling solutionJohannesburg/Uzwil, 05/08/2013 – The innovative Isigayo compact mill may be a game-changer for newcomers to maize milling and improve food safety and security for rural Africa. It was during the Innovation Challenge in 2010 that the team from Bühler South Africa came up with a proposal that would cater to the twin needs of sub-Saharan Africa: Better-quality food, and grassroots economic development. Based on their intimate knowledge of local market conditions, the team worked on a concept that would allow farmers to process their maize close to where it is produced and consumed. Thus was born the idea of Isigayo, a preassembled compact unit that condenses the process of an industrial milling plant into two shipping containers with all the features of an entire milling plant, but operates as a single machine.
In most parts of southern Africa, the maize harvest – both from large-scale industrial and from small-scale farmers – is sold to traders, who transport it to storage silos and larger milling cooperatives. From these silos, it is purchased and processed by wholesale dealers before being sold to the end-consumer by the retail industry. “Bühler’s new solution, Isigayo, will help transform this market value chain by aiding new entrepreneurs to become millers at a community level; this is also in line with the South African government’s plans to strengthen rural economies,” says Raphael Krucker, Head of Sales at Bühler South Africa.The Isigayo compact mill, which fits into two containers and can be assembled within one week, is ideally suited for startup companies in milling and maize processing. It is also targeted at small farmers, communities, and cooperatives. The Isigayo concept instantly eliminates not just one, but several processes in the value chain and cuts out the middlemen by providing this compact mill, which is low-priced in comparison to industrial milling costs and allows farmers to produce a high-grade, highly nutritional end product, i.e., maize meal.
Catalyst for economic development
Since Isigayo reduces the value chain, the costs of transportation for entrepreneurs are significantly reduced. Isigayo also eases the concern of food security (in the conventional value chain, up to 30% of maize flour is lost between harvest and storage or production). Isigayo thus helps curb food loss and serves as a catalyst for local job creation and economic development in rural communities. The mill itself is also assembled in South Africa, adding further value and jobs to the national economy. The launch of the new compact mill in Johannesburg this April was attended by Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General of South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, as well as Bühler’s Group CEO Calvin Grieder and Counselor Heinrich Maurer, Chargé d’affaires at the Swiss embassy. The high-level guests were in agreement that that the Isigayo concept can foster growth in small-scale milling by making high-grade output achievable with affordable equipment.