By Joshua Kato and Herbert Musoke
On a hill in Mende, Wakiso district, a big, brick structure houses a
miracle , according to residents!
The ‘saviour’ is a fairly modern maize mill, constructed with support from the Government of Uganda, through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS).
The mill has been in operation since 2020.
“We call it a miracle because it has saved us the odious task of carrying our maize as far as Nansana, for milling,” says Fred Masaba, a farmer. Nansana is 20kms away.
Masaba does his farming at Bakka, about 3km from the mill.
“I grow maize every season, but were making losses because we could not add value to our maize,” Masaba says.
The mill, run by retired Captain Fred Mubiru, under
his Serinya Agro-processors was constructed with the help of the government.
“A lot of maize was going to waste because we did not have a good mill. We lobbied government and got this here. It is already changing the fortune of maize farmers by giving them better prices,” he says.
Unlike other mills, it is equipped with a destoner and grain cleaner.
“Because of this added component, our flour is more refined,” Mubiru says.
It has a capacity to mill 2,000kgs per day.
“We can mill over 14,000kgs a week or at least 56,000kgs a month. This can take care of most of the dried maize in this area,” Mubiru says.
With the charge of per kgthe mill is able to take care of operational costs including power, water and allowances for the technical personnel running it.
growing in Central region The Central region and Bunyoro are the leading producers of maize in the country, according to the 2020 UBOS agriculture statistics report. The survey pointed out that at least 2.8million tons were produced in 2019. In the Central region, maize is mainly grown in Mubende, Kiboga and parts of Mityana, Kasanda and Luwero while in Bunyoro, maize is grown in Kakumiro, Kiryandongo and Hoima districts. It is not surprising that Mubende has perhaps the largest number of maize processing facilities for any upcountry area, targeting maize from Mubende, Kakumiro, Kasanda, Hoima etc.
However, the report says that most of the maize in the country is sold without any value addition.
“63% of the maize is sold without being processed,” the report says. According to Khadija Nakakande, in Charge of Communications at NAADS, this is one of several modern mills handed out to farmers across the country.