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Spotlight Report: Maize Meal - A Look at the Ultimate Staple in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 2019

Maizemeal is the most widely grown crop in sub-Saharan Africa, and is a staple food for an estimated 50% of the population. This report provides a broad overview of maizemeal as a staple in sub-Saharan Africa. It looks at production globally, and then in terms of three markets: Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, representing West, Southern and East Africa. The report contains production, processing and consumption information which gives a comparison of the three different markets.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

Lack of agricultural inputs and resources constrains maize production

In sub-Saharan Africa, maize production is largely dominated by subsistence farmers who lack access to high quality inputs like seeds and fertilisers, resulting in low yields. Maize is also mostly grown on small plots and is not commercially produced on a large scale, owing to a lack of resources, such as machinery, warehousing facilities and vehicles.

Maize remains a staple for all, regardless of social class

Maize is a traditionally consumed staple in sub-Saharan Africa. Whilst the preparation methods differ across different cultures, it remains a key component of many meals. While lower income consumers may grow their own maize or purchase maize informally through open-air markets, upper income consumers usually purchase packaged and branded maize at modern retail outlets, such as supermarkets.

Significant potential exists to commercialise maize production

There is the potential for businesses and manufacturers to invest in smallholder operations, facilitating local farmers’ access to the necessary resources (including larger farm plots) in order to increase their yields. Besides increasing the planted area, investors could partner with value-chain stakeholders (eg farmers, farmer co-operatives and market associations) to ensure that harvested produce reaches the processing stage, with minimal losses.

Government support is crucial to long-term growth

Governments can establish agricultural schemes and incentives to provide financial support to maize farmers, and increase farmers’ production capacity and yields. Introducing import taxes and tariffs could incentivise local production, and encourage individual and industrial end-users to buy local products.

Key findings
Americas and Asia account for over 80% of global maize production
Yellow maize dominates, accounting for around 95% of production
Maize production in Sub-Saharan Africa is dominated by regional powerhouses
25% of the maize crop is lost in Africa
Significant challenges limit growth potential of maize
Solution feature: Hello Tractor, unifying the mechanisation ecosystem
Case study: maize in Nigeria
How maize is consumed in Nigeria: common dishes/snacks
Packaged maize meal in Nigeria
Comparative consumption of staples in Nigeria
Case study: maize in South Africa
How maize is consumed in South Africa: common dishes/snacks
Packaged maize in South Africa: leading brands
Packaged maize meal in South Africa
Comparative consumption of staples in South Africa
Case study: maize in Kenya
How maize is consumed in Kenya: common dishes/snacks
Packaged maize meal in Kenya
Comparative consumption of staples in Kenya
Case studies: comparative pricing of packaged maize
Optimising maize potential requires unified solutions

Packaged Food

In packaged food we consider two aspects of food sales: 1) Retail sales. 2) Foodservice. Retail sales is defined as sales through establishments primarily engaged in the sale of fresh, packaged and prepared foods for home preparation and consumption. This excludes hotels, restaurant, cafés, duty free sales and institutional sales (canteens, prisons/jails, hospitals, army, etc). Our retail definition EXCLUDES the purchase of food products from foodservice outlets for consumption off-premises, eg impulse confectionery bought from counters of cafés/bars. This falls under foodservice sales. For foodservice, we capture all sales to foodservice outlets, regardless of whether the products are eventually consumed on-premise or off-premise. Foodservice sales is defined as sales to consumer foodservice outlets that serve the general public in a non-captive environment. Outlets include cafés/bars, FSR (full-service restaurants), fast food, 100% home delivery/takeaway, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks. Sales to semicaptive foodservice outlets are also included. This describes outlets located in leisure, travel and retail environments. 1) Retail refers to units located in retail outlets such as department stores, shopping malls, shopping centres, super/hypermarkets etc. 2) Leisure refers to units located in leisure establishments such as museums, health clubs, cinemas, theatres, theme parks and sports stadiums. 3) Travel refers to units located in based in airports, rail stations, coach stations, motorway service stations offering gas facilities etc. Beyond the scope of the foodservice research are captive foodservice units that serve captive populations around institutions such as hospitals, schools, and prisons. This is also known as institutional sales.

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