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Zimbabwe millers benchmark from locals

PINI BOTHOKO
MASUNGA: A delegation of four millers from Zimbabwe provinces were recently in the country on a two-day visit to benchmark the milling process of small grains from North East District (NED) millers.

The delegation, which was made up of millers from Bulawayo, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South and Harare said that they were sent by the Ministry of Small Medium Enterprises Development, to learn and see how locals mill sorghum and millet.

The team toured government sponsored milling factories within the district before they returned to Zimbabwe. Millers expressed interest in partnering with locals to feed the two countries. During a media brief, team leader Allen Ndebele of Amini millers based in Matebeleland North said that in Zimbabwe, they only mill maize and have interest in milling sorghum and millet and the importance of their visit was to learn that from local millers.

“We only mill maize in Zimbabwe because we have shortage of small grains. Farmers back home prefer to traditionally pound their small grains than bringing it to us for milling, “ he said. He said that they want to stop the traditional way of pounding small grains practiced by villagers and introduce the eating of finished packed small grains.

“Unlike Batswana our people plough small grains in small quantities exclusively for their family consumption. It’s only maize that is ploughed for business but we want to plant the same idea of farming small grains amongst our farmers, “ he said.

Ndebele said that they had an educative tour and local millers were open to offer them free education on how

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to mill small grains.

He said that he was also impressed that the government of Botswana was sponsoring their businesses with majority of millers being the youth.

“I am so impressed. I like how millers here process small grains. Even their finished products are nice and customer appealing. Yesterday we had the opportunity to eat small grains from some millers and they tasted good, “ he said.

Meanwhile, Ndebele called on the government of Botswana to give millers enough space to process their products in order for them to produce enough goods to feed the country.

“All of the millers we visited operate in small factories and they do not have enough storage of their finished goods. I do not think they can be able to mill thousands of bags compared to other millers, “ he said.

NEDC secretary, Charles Amos said that they hoped the team’s visit would be beneficial to their farmers and the millers because it gave them the exposure on how to conduct their businesses.

He said that they could also partner with the Zimbabweans and arrange on how they can supply Zimbabwe with small grains because they (locals) plough it in large quantities.

He said the visit will also give their millers the opportunity to visit Zimbabwe and learn how to mill maize because there is no one who has started milling maize in their district.



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