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Africa de Sud/Boom comercial

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Since 1994 when South Africa was re-born a true democracy, it has quickly become a huge and vibrant market for trade, offering a promising economic infrastructure to the international community. South Africa undoubtedly has abundant natural resources, an organized banking system, good infrastructure, a reasonable tax structure, good business culture and a fairly stable political climate. Its stock exchange ranks among the top 20 in the world and it is the gateway to other African markets. Last year, it was reported that Fixtrade, a South Africa-based producer of stainless steel equipment, offered entrepreneurs in Africa the opportunity to start their own small-scale food manufacturing businesses. This offer could only be possible because of the business climate in the country that makes small-scale business thrive. That programme offered the entrepreneurs the opportunity to produce their own yogurt using Fixtrade\s state-of-the-art equipment. But yogurt was not the only product their machines could produce.The Fixtrade Company had developed a range of small food production equipment that could produce other dairy products like milk and cheese, as well as poultry, ice lollies, popcorn, still/flavoured bottled water, juice, corn snacks and bakery products.The company is reputed to have been involved with the establishment of various successful businesses across the continent, in countries like Botswana, Zambia and Swaziland and Mozambique. Its equipment are also designed for export.While private organizations like Fixtrade are upgrading South Africa’s small-scale business environment in the manufacturing industry, the government through its Department of Trade and Industry is doing its own share in the agricultural sector. In May 2014, the Department announced the plan to roll-out 24 micro mills to improve food security and reduce the price of maize meal by up to 37%. That was cheering news for maize millers.It is envisaged that “small mills will have the capacity to produce 1,000 tons of maize meal a month each, a combined 288,000 tons a year, accounting for 6% of the national maize meal production.”With the rising price of South Africa’s staple food, which is maize meal, the government decided to enhance the establishment of small-scale maize millers in rural areas to boost maize production. It did this by launching, last year, the Small Scale Milling project through the Department’s Agro-processing Business Unit in collaboration with the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services (Fabcos). When maize is mentioned, what may readily come to mind is the meal that South Africans use in preparing all manner of dishes, or the processed flakes that come in packaged breakfast cereal and baby food. It is a very important product, where the average wholesale price of 25kg of maize meal is R150. The price is even higher in remote or rural areas. As the case has been, maize grown in rural areas is transported to urban areas for milling before being transported back to rural consumers. With the new mills established in rural areas, the cost of fuel in transportation usually added to the cost of the final product is completely taken away.With the development, establishment and use of equipment in manufacturing and agricultural business, what used to be termed small-scale in those industries are quickly transforming to large-scale. Investors will have a keener eye on that African country for years to come.Author: Tubonemi – Nigeria

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