The Choice of Technique — Maize Grinding in Kenya

  • Frances Stewart


Maize is the staple food in large parts of Kenya.1 In 1966 it was estimated that on average 13–17 million bags, or 250–300 lb per head were produced each year.2 It is eaten in a number of ways, but is most often consumed in the form of a flour. In this form it is probably eaten by the majority of Kenyans at least once a day. Hence the process of grinding maize is potentially very big business affecting almost everyone. Maize is a subsistence crop and in normal conditions about 80 per cent of total production is not marketed but consumed by those who produce it.3 There is a wide range of methods of processing maize in use in Kenya. They extend to traditional methods, which pre-date historical records, involving the use of a wooden pestle and mortar, to the most modern roller mills, of identical design to those currently in use in the developed countries. Between these two extremes are hand-operated mills, water and grindstone mills, and hammer mills which are operated either by diesel engine or electric motor.


Diesel Engine Investment Cost Roller Mill Capacity Utilisation Repair Cost 
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© Frances Stewart 1977

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  • Frances Stewart

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