|Small-Scale Maize Milling (ILO - WEP, 1984, 160 p.)|
|CHAPTER I. ELEMENTS OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHOICE IN MAIZE MILLING|
The previous section suggests that, from a socio-economic point of view, the production of whole meal by small merchant or custom mills might be more appropriate than that of sifted or bolted meal by large plants. However, as pointed out earlier, the choice of milling techniques may vary from one country to another depending on such factors as the level of development, consumers' tastes and the distribution of the population between rural and urban areas. The promotion of any particular milling technique should therefore follow a careful evaluation of the supply and demand of different kinds of maize meal, taking into consideration the country's development objectives. An overall study of the maize milling sector might include the following:
- a survey of consumers' demand for various types of meal, including the identification of the reasons which may explain demand for specific types of meal (e.g. availability, tastes, advertising, low prices, packaging, shelf-life);
- a survey of maize meal production by households, custom mills, merchant mills and roller mills, including the location of production units, milling techniques, scales of production, quality of output, marketing channels and wholesale and retail prices; and
- a socio-economic analysis of alternative maize milling techniques based on information obtained from the above surveys, taking into consideration the country's development objectives. The assessed techniques should include those currently used in the country as well as improved techniques which have been developed elsewhere.
Findings from the above study may then be translated into concrete action for the promotion of milling techniques consonant with the country's development objectives. Government action in this sector may include the following:
- formulation and application of measures to induce consumption of specific types of maize meal;
- dissemination of information on improved milling techniques;
- promotion of research and development directed to the improvement of the quality and shelf-life of whole meal, including the development of appropriate packaging required by some segments of the market; and
- formulation and application of measures to promote the right balance among various types and scales of mills, taking into consideration the consumption pattern which the government wishes to encourage.
The technical information contained in the following chapters should be useful for the undertaking of the suggested study, as well as for the formulation of government measures for the promotion of suitable milling techniques. It is also particularly intended for practising and would-be millers who wish to improve their current milling techniques or set up a new production unit.