Tuesday, August 16, 2011

As Moageiras

After lunch, we headed to the MMM pilot mill site, located near the village marketplace.

Fátima, the local entrepreneur selected by TechnoServe to run the pilot mill, was not at the site today, but we were able to interview Arlindo, the knowledgeable manager.

A moageira


Arlindo proved to be a wealth of information, explaining in detail the installation and operation of the pilot mill. Unlike many of the local milling machines, which are constructed using shoddy materials and break down easily, the MMM pilot mill houses a higher-quality machine imported from South Africa. Despite its advantages, however, its smaller size and higher cost pose a challenge for future franchising. Fátima, whose sizeable customer base means that there are often long lines at her mill, is currently operating the new Drotsky-brand machine alongside her larger original equipment.

Weighing scale (2 meticais/kilo for milling)
Fátima's account book
Lower-quality but higher-capacity equipment
Pilot Drotsky-brand milling machine

Our next stop was a mill on the other side of the village. Ribáuè is privileged in this sense—many villages in northern Mozambique lack functioning mills, leaving women with no option but to spend precious daylight hours pounding their families' maize by hand.

Unlike Fátima's electric machines, the equipment at the second mill site was diesel-powered. We found out that customers prefer electric mills, but diesel motors have two significant advantages: first, they are slightly cheaper to operate, and second, they do not rely on the often unreliable power supply. While we were talking to the mill operator, a woman arrived with her load of maize, giving us the opportunity to watch the machine in action.

Starting the engine
Feeding the machine
Satisfied customer leaving with her cornmeal