Nzara gets maize firms to uproot hunger

By William Madouk Garang

The newly established home-based flour factories in Western Equatoria State (WES) are expected to meet the country’s growing demand for high-grade flour.

Farmers’ Union Cooperatives in Western Equatoria State (WES) over the weekend launched the first ever home-coined flour products that would be sold to consumers at lower prices.

The Regional Director for International Fertilizer Centre Development (IFDC), Alexander Fernando said that, the introduction of the production of the maize flour in WES is a great move towards supporting and improving sustainable agriculture.

“The mandate is to support those who are motivated, have a business idea and who want to improve their livelihood. I am very grateful for coming to Yambio and Nzara to witness this excellent work done by the cooperative unions,” said Fernando.

Alana Sebit Owot, the Partnership Facilitator for 2SCALE South Sudan, said the two pilot Cooperative societies’ business ambition, was to enhance local maize production by engaging small-scale farmers and adds value to maize produced by cooperatives.

He cited that the grinding mills for maize flour factories will entail processing the maize into flour, to address the nutritional needs and subsequently to other consumers within and outside the State.

The company was launched by IFDC as part of its donation to Nzara communities of Western Equatoria State. The 2SCALE program is designed to incubate and accelerate inclusive business development in African agri-food systems.

It works together with companies, small or medium-sized enterprises, and organizations to develop business and have potential for scaling agribusiness.

Eden Multipurpose Marketing Cooperative in Yambio and Farmers’ Cooperative Union General in Nzara were supported by 2SCALE Program through a co-investment arrangement to acquire complete set of maize milling machines that they were able to install and process maize into flour which were launched on Tuesday and Wednesday in Yambio and Nzara respectively.

The maize flour already in circulation in the local markets of Yambio and Nzara are packaged into different bags of 5, 10, 20 and 25 Kilograms respectively which are intended to meet the demand of customers with low income.

For his part, the Chairperson of Eden Multipurpose Marketing Cooperative Society, Christopher Ismail said the project intends to empower small-scale farmers.

Ismail stressed that the locally based modest maize processing line produces up to 30 bags of 50 kgs per day of grains purchased from local farmers in the state.

He added that the cooperative has been receiving subsequent market positive feedback from retailers and consumers about the product. He asserted that about 50 metrics tons of maize was sold since inception of project in September this year.

The two processing lines will create job opportunities within the community, almost 12 people are being employed as Machine operators, mechanics, marketers, administers and among others.

Mr. Ismail further revealed that the machine has provided market to locally produced maize grains in the State. “Our farmers are cultivating, and we get their maize as raw materials for processing,” he noted.

Some of the retailers who purchased the flour in wholesale price from Eden and Nzara said, “The initiative has saved them from importing from neighboring Uganda which they say is often costly.”

Simon Arkanjelo, one of the retailers at Yambio market said, he sells the locally produced maize flour at relatively lower prices since there is no transport cost and tax tariffs incurred compared to the ones imported outside.

Meanwhile, the State Acting Minister of cooperative and rural development, James Abdallah Arona, lauded the farmers’ cooperatives, union and partners for the scheme that would uproot hunger in the country.

“… in 60s, 70s and 80s, our people from Southern Sudan migrated to the north to look for jobs and most of the goods were produced in the north but now we have our local industry in South Sudan,” said Arona.

Mr. Arona further encouraged farmers in the state to continue producing grains in large quantity to keep the processing lines running.

“From here as a government, I still want to encourage our farmers and the administration of the Cooperative unions to work hard and do more awareness to mobilize more farmers so that they can produce raw materials… you can even supply Wau Rumbek and also export,” he added.

Eden Multipurpose Marketing Cooperative and General Farmers Union started the maize flour production on weekend.  

A local initiative that is supported by 2SCALE under the theme “Towards Sustainable Cluster in Agribusiness Learning and Entrepreneurship with support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

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