Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL; President & CEO: Takeshi Hashimoto) today announced that, with Karasawa Agricultural Machinery Service Co., Ltd. (Karasawa Agricultural Machinery; President: Takeyuki Karasawa; Headquarters: Tomi City, Nagano Prefecture), their project to verify the commercialization of small-scale private rice mills in Kenya was selected by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) for a FY2022 subsidy demonstration project on establishing food value chains in Africa and other regions.

MOL’s wholly owned subsidiary KiliMOL (Representative: Mikio Oyama; Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo) is developing a business to export agricultural machinery to Africa. Leveraging MOL group’s experience gained from KiliMOL’s activities such as demonstrations to introduce used agricultural machinery from Japan and its network in Kenya, the consortium of MOL and Karasawa Agricultural Machinery will verify the commercialization of a “Village Rice Mill (small-scale private rice mill)” business in Mwea, Kenya’s largest irrigation project area and in Kisumu area surrounding Lake Victoria until March 2023.

While rice production is expanding every year in Kenya and other parts of East Africa, it faces many obstacles due to delays in technology development. In rice milling, the grain can get contaminated with rocks and dust when it is sun-dried on the street, and uneven distribution of moisture in the rice results in many of the grains being crushed during the milling process. Although large-scale rice milling machines have been introduced from overseas, rice quality has deteriorated due to aged equipment. In another instance, rice is distributed to other countries because rice milling equipment is unevenly distributed due to the limited availability of equipment. In addition, small-scale farmers cannot secure sufficient rice to feed themselves and their families.

In the demonstration test, the consortium will place a total of 20 small-scale private rice mills in Mwea and Kisumu to address these issues. In September of this year, it will transport 20 Japanese-made rice milling machines to the local sites, demonstrate their use and provide technical support, and then verify the viability of commercialization through trial operation of the Village Rice Mill system by local farmers and so on over several months. The consortium and KiliMOL have already gained the cooperation of Kai Global Ltd. (President: Kyohei Fukui; Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya) as a local partner in the verification process.

The project team will further enhance its initiatives to develop local agricultural technology and introducing more advanced mechanization by leveraging Karasawa Agricultural Machinery’s capabilities to procure equipment in Japan, technology related to repair and maintenance of agricultural machinery, MOL Group’s reliable transport capabilities and local network, and Kai Global Ltd.’s knowledge and local network related to local rice cultivation and distribution.

MOL group positions regional strategy as one of its core business strategies. In the African market where the population is expected to grow in the future, MOL group aims not only to market agricultural machinery, but also to establish local food value chains by entering new businesses in logistics and agriculture derived from those marketing efforts and contribute to addressing poverty.[MOL Group 5 Sustainability Issues] MOL Group will contribute to realizing a sustainable society by promoting responses to sustainability issues, which are identified as social issues that must be addressed with priority through its business.
We anticipate this initiative to contribute especially to the realization of “Human & Community-Contributing to the growth and development of people and communities-“.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News