Exciting training opportunity for aspiring millers in Middle East & Africa

19 January 20225 min reading

DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Bühler and eProd Solutions Limited launch virtual training program in Sub-Sahara Africa.

Three companies, the German DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, Bühler, and enterprise resource planning systems provider, eProd Solutions Limited, have met to discuss the launch of a virtual training program for improved milling technology and supply chain management in agriculture to Sub-Sahara Africa. The project is implemented within the framework of develoPPP, a funding program for sustainable company initiatives of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The develoPPP Agreement was officially signed on October 28, 2021. DEG, the private sector arm of the state owned KFW group, is the financial partner and will contribute 50% of the total costs of the project, the other 50% is being privately contributed.

DEG supports a project of this nature as it is important for them from a sustainability and strategic point of view. “This project specifically contributes to a number of global SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals- we strongly support, in this case with funds of the BMZ. The met SDGs here are education, creating decent jobs and food security. For us it is extremely vital to contribute towards such vocational training projects as they help to strengthen the private sector and economic growth in Kenya and the East African region. We also hope that based on our well established relationship with Bühler Group we will cooperate further, e.g. in financially assisting future expansions.” says Antje Steiner, Director Regional Office East Africa (based in Nairobi, Kenya) • KfW DEG.

This project was initiated and applied for by Bühler together with eProd. The Cereal Millers Association of Kenya assisted with a support letter to DEG and will be one of the beneficiaries.

The conceptualization of the course content as well as back-end development is currently taking place. The selection of the first 35 millers from the Cereal Millers Association in Nairobi, Kenya will take place until January 31, 2022, followed by the kick-off of the pilot course until March 31, 2022. The course will be streamed from the African Milling School in Nairobi, Kenya.

The course is made up of 14 modules, eProd will deliver eight modules and Bühler will deliver the remaining six modules over this time. The program is 100% virtual and will be done in a webinar format. The objective is to give the learners a sustainable training experience. Each learner will then also get access to the online e-learning platform, which still needs to be developed. The platform will provide additional information as well as tests. The main aim is that the learner takes away as much knowledge as possible and is then able to use the necessary best practices going forward. The learners will get a certificate of participation once all modules are complete.

From a course content point of view, it is extremely important to also have the voice of the Cereal Millers Association included in this project. Paloma Fernandes CEO from the Cereal Millers Association was also present during the kick-off meeting and pointed out the importance of reducing post-harvest losses, downtime, and waste reduction in the mill. 

The milling industry landscape in Sub-Sahara Africa has changed a lot in recent years with many new, relatively small millers entering the market. They work with minimum investments and low-end technology equipment from cheap suppliers. These millers typically tend not to invest in staff training, resulting in unsafe working circumstances, lack of maintenance and unsafe food products.

The availability of the grains is a big topic, hence the partnership with eProd, from the agricultural point of view. The quality of the grains is also very important due to the post-harvest handling process, storage processes and quality control measures not being in place. “If companies want to  address these quality concerns it is important to start with the supply chain and apply a holistic approach. It starts with knowing the farmers, provide them with the right seed varieties and tailored production advise, traceability in the supply chain. This can be achieved in an economic way with supply chain digitalization”, says Jan Willem van Casteren, CEO of eProd Solutions Ltd.

Kenya imports the majority of its wheat, so this is a very valuable commodity. If the mill is not functioning optimally, loss occurs, and this impacts the quantity and quality of the flour produced. Hence, the topic of Operational Milling Excellence is very important. 

The impact of this virtual training program is immense, and the industry is set to benefit hugely. Should this be a success, going forward specific measurables could be put in place in terms of quantification, for example energy reduction and CO² emissions.

This course will be the only one of this nature in Sub Saharan Africa. The African Milling School is the only training center in the Middle East Africa region for grain milling.  This online course will be the most comprehensive to be conducted through the African Milling School.

The envisaged results will be that eventually 250 millers are trained in basic milling technology and supply chain management. The supply chain mentoring program is implemented with at least 125 Sub-Saharan African milling companies. 125 Sub-Saharan African millers perceive that the training program will lead to a more efficient and tailored business sourcing strategy.

“This project offers us a unique opportunity to craft a customized and highly efficient solution to bring to the millers to enable them to increase the quality of produce and reduce processing losses to strengthen the agri-food supply chain in Sub-Saharan Africa,” concludes Matthias Grabe, Managing Director, Bühler East Africa.

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