Strengthening OACF


Written by Dawit Setegn, Cooperative advisor Ethiopia

Oromia Agricultural Cooperatives Federation (OACF) was established in 2009 and is mainly based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Over the years, it has grown to encompass 67 cooperative unions, more than 1.5 billion capital, 5400 primary cooperatives, and above 3 million individual members. The Federation has 392 permanent employees (327 male and 65 females) and 68 temporary employees.

Operational focus of OACF

OACF mainly engaged in the import of agricultural inputs like agrochemicals (herbicides, pesticides), and distributes them to the farmers in the region to increase production and productivity. The federation purchases and processes member products like maize, and barley to produce flour, grit, malt, and animal feed. Notably, the maize processing factory in Galan town boasts an impressive annual capacity of 30,000 tons, while the malt processing factory in Asella town can handle a staggering 36,000 tons per year.
Additionally, OACF actively participates in the export of member products, including sesame, haricot beans, mung beans, and chickpeas. Cattle collection and bulking, driven by customer demand, are further dimensions of OACF's multifaceted operations.

Challenges in maize processing

In 2019, OACF established a state-of-the-art maize processing factory in Galan town, leveraging cutting-edge technology supplied by Tanis, Turkey. However, the initial phase was not without its challenges. Operational hurdles surfaced, ranging from issues with miller operation to sieve machine cleaning and nylon replacement. Despite the involvement of a Tanis engineer, a satisfactory resolution remained elusive.

In response to the cooperative assessment highlighting the maintenance and operational challenges faced by OACF's maize mill, Agriterra took proactive measures. Rien Koopman, a Dutch agripool expert, was engaged to provide his invaluable expertise. From June 11th to 17th, 2023, a mission was carried out in Galan town, with facilitation and support provided by Agriterra's local Cooperative advisor, Dawit Setegn.

Technical training and practical solutions

The mission's primary objective was to enhance the maize flour machine's extraction capacity and provide comprehensive coaching for millers, operation managers, supervisors, and other factory workers. The training programme commenced with theoretical explanations of roller mill operation, delving into the pneumatic system, cyclones, and filters. Practical sessions constituted hands-on learning opportunities for mill adjustment, cleaning, and maintenance.

Key findings included a broken bearing that necessitated replacement. However, the unavailability of spare parts prompted an order, resulting in an eight-week wait for full installation and operationalisation. Furthermore, maintenance and examination unveiled the need for bearing replacement in two roller millers.

Explanation of roller miller function and maintenance

Improved efficiency

This intervention heralded a notable transformation, significantly enhancing operational efficiency. The mill's capacity surged from 65% to an impressive 90%. Recommendations were made to optimize mill usage, ensuring sustained functionality over the long term. The knowledge and skills imparted during this mission empowered the young, motivated operators and technicians of the maize mill factory in Galan.

This success story underscores the significant strides OACF has taken in enhancing its operational efficiency and productivity. Through meticulous intervention and dedicated training, OACF has not only overcome operational hurdles but also paved the way for sustainable growth. The collaboration with Agriterra served as a catalyst, demonstrating the value of cooperative support and expertise-sharing within the agricultural sector. 

Roller miller extraction

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