Small-scale maize milling business operations: A case study of Lusaka province
The overall focus of this study was to analyze the small-scale maize milling business operation in Lusaka Province. The objectives were to understand the operational and managerial characteristics, identify the different marketing strategies and to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats affecting the small-scale millers (SWOT analysis). The methodology used in the study was a simple survey in which purposive sampling was used. A structured questionnaire was used to collect information from the small-scale maize millers. This was complemented by secondary information from various sources. The general findings from the study were that the small-scale maize millers were lacking in education and this was both the employees and the owners. Other findings were that most hammer-mills were owned by the males and most of them had no employees who were trained in such fields as marketing, accoimts and production. Most of the hammer-mills were found to be located in Lusaka District and this showed that Lusaka had a high demand of products from the hammer-mills. The marketing strategies which were used were not good at all in the sense that they were inadequate and lacking a professional touch which made them not very effective. Most of them were producing roller and breakfast meal as there basic products. Most of the hammer-mills were repaired by the owner when they broke down. It was also found that the management structure of most small-scale maize millers was very simple in the sense that it only comprised of the owner-children-relatives-workers. In the absence of the owner the children or the relative took charge of the running of the business. Competifion from the large scale millers and potential entrants into the industry were said to be the main threats and the weaknesses which was found and that most of them did not have trained personnel and they .lack the basic education. Among the opportunities it was found that most of them had different plans on how to expand which showed that they were numerous opportunities in the maize milling business. One of the strengths which they possessed was the owner's equity which most of them had and this meant that most of them were safe from insolvency or liquidation since they did not borrow any money to start the business. From the above it can be concluded that a lot needs to be done concerning the small-scale maize milling in the sense that their is need to encourage more women to take up maize milling as a business and that the millers need to be trained at least in some of the basic management, planning, accounting, and marketing. The govenmient should provide adequate extension services to target the small-scale maize millers so as to make sure that their needs are met.
- Agriculture