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Uganda: Business number five.

After almost two years and a lot of teething problems, the St Denis Posho Mill finally opened its doors to customers on 1st March 2012. Although the building and machinery has been in place for over a year, the mill was only connected to the electricity supply in February this year, to the great relief of the community who have been waiting and fundraising for its operation throughout 2011.

  

(The mill's first customer and the mill in operation manned by Laurence and Umar.)

An expert miller and machine operator, Umar Sentongo, was recruited from the nearby town of Masaka, and was responsible for putting the final engineering touches to the mill before the operational opening on 1st March. We also recruited a casual worker from the surrounding community in order to assist Umar in dealing with the customers and operating the mill. Laurence, who was recruited because he is an ex-St Denis student, had previously been without a job but has since picked up enough skills to run the mill alone when the manager is not there.

  

(The mill manager about to switch on and customers queuing up.)

Since it is the maize harvesting season, the mill has been extremely busy in its first two weeks of opening and seen up to 50 customers per day, each milling between 5kg and 80kg of maize. The customers have been commenting on the high quality of the milled maize and are extremely pleased not to have to carry their maize 5km to the next mill.

The income has been between 70,000-100,000 UGX ($30-$45) per day in the first two weeks, but the mill is working hard in order to save up enough cash to pay the hefty electricity bill that will be on its way shortly. There is still a lot of hard work to be done to ensure that the mill turns a profit in its first year of operation. 


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