QUALITY WORTH PAYING FOR
There are far larger millers operating for many years who benefit from economies of scale. The only way Mukumbuta could outcompete them was to produce top-quality, value-for-money, mealie meal. At the time of interviewing him, he sold a 25kg bag of Roller Meal for 65 kwacha [R80] while his cheapest competitor sold the same-sized bag for K53 [R66].
He added, his company's sales figures confirm that Western Province's consumers are prepared to pay more for Country Millers' maize meal. His consumers believe they are getting top-quality, value-for-money products. "All of the maize meal we produce sells out. We're unable to meet the full demand for our products at the moment," says Mukumbuta.
Country Millers produces 10kg and 25kg bags of both Super Breakfast Meal and Super Roller Meal. Breakfast meal is slightly more refined than roller meal. While these two products are Country Millers' primary income generators, the business also sells maize bran and coarse No. 3 maize meal, which are residues of the milling process.
A fleet of 10 trucks and vans distributes the company's products to retailers within a 200km radius of the mill.
On the future of Country Millers milling maize into money, Mukumbuta says he wants to double his capacity to 200t a day to meet the ever-growing demand across Western Province.
Plans to start supplying maize meal to Shoprite retail chain stores across Zambia are also in the pipeline. "This will require a bigger mill. It will most definitely be a Roff mill because I'm very satisfied with the one we've been using. It means I'll have to expand my infrastructure to house the larger mill, but I have the space to do this," he says.
Phone Country Millers on +260 969 555 500, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lloyd Phillips visited Country Millers as a sponsored guest of Roff Industries and Mukumbuta Mukumbuta.▪
The original article appeared in Farmer’s Weekly, 11 May 2018.