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Milling maize to celebrate heritage

Written by More Matshediso

A local milling company is building the strength of the nation by helping to transform the grain sector.

Producing traditional food has a strong link to the heritage of a young farmer, Noah Nyawo (32), who believes that the wealth of a black child is what he or she eats.Khula Mills, one of the few 100 percent black owned milling companies in South Africa, provides one of the country's staple foods.

Nyawo, who has 10 years’ agricultural experience, is the managing director of Khula Mills, an agricultural company that produces maize meal, samp, maize rice and animal feed in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. 

He explains how Khula Mills started: “Khula Mills is a product of HIA International Security trading as Nqanawe Holdings, a youth-owned company that consists of a team of dedicated individuals from different backgrounds.

“HIA International Security has been in operation for over 10 years. There was a bid advertised by the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture for an expression of interest for grain milling in the province. I submitted a response and was successful. Afterwards, I registered Khula Mills as an operation company for milling and selling,” says Nyawo. 

He says the company takes pride in producing food that many generations of South Africans have eaten on a daily basis. 

Nyawo says it always concerned him that while maize meal is regarded as a staple food for most South Africans, the country did not have a 100 percent black-owned milling company. 

“This is a business opportunity and a market that many black farmers should exploit because maize milling companies are the biggest buyers of white maize,” he says. 

Nyawo says the business has created more than 5 000 direct and indirect jobs. 

“I am happy to have created jobs for our people and I hope that I will be able to hire more in future,” he says. 

He advises other young people who are in the agribusiness sector to be prepared to do everything in their power to ensure their success. “Go the extra mile!” he says.

They must also be prepared emotionally and physically to overcome the challenges presented by the agricultural industry.