Moagem Maravilha (MoMa) reinvents the essential but painfully inefficient maize mill service in rural Mozambique. Currently, mills only offer a pay-per-kilo transaction that is slow and inflexible. MoMa introduces a radical new system that allows customers to “monetize” their maize and immediately exchange it for any mix of cash, freshly-milled flour, and other goods. This dramatically expands customers’ options while cutting hours out of their errands, enabling them to invest time and resources in their families and communities.
Product Area: Maize milling services
Big Idea: Enable rural Mozambicans to transform maize into cash in order to save time and allocate their assets exactly as they like.
Partner: Technoserve Mozambique
Project Launched: March 2012
Current Status: Applying for funding from Social E Lab to return to Mozambique during summer 2012, with aims of launching a new beta site in early 2013.
Team: Sylvie Bryant, Nabil Mansouri, Jackie Rotman, Ryan Takasugi
Most rural farmers in Mozambique patronize mills in order to transform their grains into flour on a fee-per-kilogram basis. Unfortunately, the inflexibility of this transaction perpetuates a range of problems. Customers wait for long periods of time (2-4 hours during harvest seasons) to complete just one of their many daily tasks because all traffic funnels through the mill. For those who have very little cash, they can only mill a few kilograms per visit and must visit several times per week. Moreover, farmers who produce surplus grains face uncertainty and strong price pressures when they try to sell to traders because there is no fair market for their crops.
MoMa introduces a radical new system that allows customers to “monetize” their maize by valuing it according to fair market prices and immediately translating this value into any mix of cash, freshly-milled flour, and other goods. The mill is no longer a bottleneck and transaction times are much shorter, so waiting is eliminated. A much wider range of transactions are possible, including ones that involve no cash. Farmers can sell as much of their excess grains, whenever they like, at a guaranteed fair price. We expect that one mill will be able to save customers 100,000 hours of waiting and additional trips per year. These hours are the result of customers exercising the freedom to choose how to allocate their most valuable asset (their maize); and with these saved hours, they will have new options that they've never had before, enabling them to invest time and resources in their families and communities.
MoMa is a redesigned maize mill space that enables this new transaction. It requires constructing a new chain of buildings with floor plans that look more like fast food restaurant than a traditional mill. There is a central office that will coordinate operations such as training, maintenance, and inventory across a network of these mills. In the long run, we envision MoMa to be a self-sustaining rural distribution network that will enable new products and services (health and financial services/products, etc) to reach rural customers who have historically been beyond reach.
What’s Happening Now?
The MoMa team is making preparations for additional interviews and tests with customers in Mozambique while simultaneously preparing the construction plans for our beta site. We are working closely with in-country partner Technoserve and applying for Stanford Social E Lab funding.
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