ZAMBIA – Cargill and the Industrial Development Corporation Limited (IDC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to engage in discussions to set up mini mills in various areas of rural Zambia.

Recently, Cargill which is a food and agricultural firm launched the Chipata mini mill as a pilot project to explore the establishment of further mills.

Cargill’s general manager in Zambia Lezanne van Zyl and IDC chief executive officer Andrew Chipwende signed on behalf of their respectively organisations, according to a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Friday.

“Cargill’s mini-mill project with IDC will evaluate the viability of smaller commercial dry maize meals in the Eastern and Northern provinces and together the two companies believe the mini mill project has potential for expansion beyond Chipata,” the statement reads.

The statement notes that Cargill is investigating how best to expand its asset footprint and believes by strategically placing smaller processing plants could leverage its existing small-scale farmer origination capabilities with its merchandising and supply chain expertise.

The project will test both smaller urban, but also rural demand for commercial maize meal and the current model of the maize mini mill in Chipata is built on retail sales of breakfast and roller meal.

Cargill, however, is expanding into other areas north of Chipata, serving the communities in smaller urban places necessitates for the model to be tested for the benefits it may bring to smallholder farmers.

Meanwhile, Cargill has launched Sungani Banja, a barter scheme that will offer local farmers the option to exchange their maize for mealie-meal when they use its mini-mill in Chipata.

The system works by providing farmers with coupons to the value of their crop, which they can redeem for mealie meal.

The Sungani Banja offering comes in the wake of Government’s appeal for the private sector to get involved in improving food security across the country by providing reliable, affordable and sustainable sources of food for the Zambian populace, especially in rural areas.

September 4, 2015;