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Maize mill industry creates opportunity

Africa Spirit Maize Meal Processing Plant (Pty) Ltd is a newly established maize milling company involved in the creation of a state-of-the-art maize milling plant in Lehurutshe, Zeerust, North West Province.
The company is 70% BEE-owned and controlled – with 50% of the shares in the hands of black women. The project will produce super maize meal, special maize meal, and grits and chops for the animal feed industry. Construction of the plant is in progress with production targeted to start in February/March.
Managing director, Edmund Baruch, holds a diploma as a milling engineer from Switzerland and has built mills in over 35 countries, on nearly every continent. Baruch was motivated to build three mills with his new company as he was concerned about the milling situation in South Africa. “Most rural areas have no mills and no silos, which means that most millers are over-concentrated in urban towns.”
He, however, believes that the mills will be successful due to the range and quality of their products; doing things differently – “you can’t just be a me-too”; and being low-cost producers. “We have laid the foundation with old-style milling combined with new technology. This is clear with the distinct taste in the products, which are not just tasteless white maize because our mills have a higher yield, lower bran output and a specific fat content.” Project background
Baruch explains that it has taken six months to build the single floor, HACCP-compliant manufacturing facility in Lehurutshe, Zeerust, which measures 20 metres long, 6.4 metres wide and 9.4 metres high. Buhler_SDE
The plant has a production capacity of 3t/hour with the maximum nameplate capacity of 2,000t of processed maize per month. Its structure is a prototype aimed at marketing new products and is environmentally-compliant and “green” with low-voltage lighting, mercury discharge lamps, and energy-efficient motors that use 20% less power – all of which were supplied by WEG. The
spouting comes from Germany, the electronics from France and the cleaners from Denmark.  Employment creation
The mill is expected to employ 10 people permanently; it is indirectly creating more than 50 jobs during the construction phase and is in the process of hiring two technicians and an electrical engineer who will always be on-site.
Due to financial constraints, Baruch says that he would rather limit the output at the beginning, but that the aim is to produce 300-600t per month. “The bottom line is to create jobs and, ideally, to work towards up to three 30t trucks per day, which will create employment for many. Although we need fewer people at the mill due to the technology that we are using, those employed will have far-reaching consequences. I personally plan to train up the staff from the local area – we will not be bringing in employees from Johannesburg.”
He says that the products from the mill will be distributed and sold to numerous stores, and that the company is in discussions with major retailers who have shown significant interest in buying the final products. “Moreover, we will supply locations around North West Province where there is a high concentration of people, and get involved with feeding schemes.”
Baruch: Tel +27 82 783 8528; fax 086 554 2240; baruche@icon.co.za ; website: www.africaspiritmill.co.za