The Malô Model
Rice cultivation is hard work. Expecting smallholder farmers to also excel at milling, logistics, and sales is unrealistic. We reward farmers for their dedication by purchasing their harvests at a premium. For farmers, having a guaranteed buyer reduces their risk and workload given they no longer need to engage in processing, marketing, and distribution. Getting paid fairly at harvest also enables them to pay back old loans for inputs, plant a second rice harvest, purchase livestock, or grow high-value, nutritious vegetables. Our farming partners also commit to improving their production practices and along with our NGO partners, we provide them with technical and capacity building support.
In order for rice to be edible, the hull or the husk needs to be removed. We build facilities equipped with machines set up in a customized processing line designed to minimize waste and enhance the nutritional content of white rice. The machines we employ cleans, sorts, and polishes the rice so that the milled rice is consistent and high quality. Grains that do not pass our rigorous quality control standards are ground into rice flour, mixed with micronutrients such as iron, zinc, folate (Vitamin B9), and Vitamin B12 and reshaped into fortified rice kernels (FRKs) using extrusion technology. The FRKs are blended with rice grown by our farming partners at a 1:100 ratio.
African food brands are rare. We package and distribute fortified rice products directly to urban consumers and retailers under the brand name Supermalô. We also sell our byproducts. Rice husk (22%) and rice bran (13%) are sold to chicken coop owners and animal feed manufacturers, respectively.