Location Spotlight: Midema

Location Spotlight: Midema

Affilate: MIDEMA (Minoterie de Matadi)

Location: Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo

Year Opened: 1973

Products/Services offered by Midema:

We produce:

  1. Different types of wheat flour in Matadi:
    • The “Farine Speciale,” a flour that is specially designed to meet the needs of Congolese Artisan Bakers (70% of our market). It is a flour that has a high level of tolerance and a quality that is superior to our competitors.
    • The “Farine Industrielle,” that we created only for the SADIA bakery, in which Seaboard is a shareholder.
    • The “Farine coup de lame,” that was created to produce French baguette type of bread (crispy and a larger scoring). Good scoring’s of bread are very important in Congo and each baker has his own style.
    • The “Farine beignet” and “Farine biscuit,” a flour with less protein that is adapted for biscuits.
    • The “Farine Patissi√®re – Mama Mobokoli,” a T45 flour that we sell mainly in supermarkets in formats of 1 and 2.5 kg.
  2. Different types of animal feed for chicken, pigs, horses and rabbits of different ages.
  3. Low quantities of maize grits.

Normal day at Midema:

Our operations start from the Pier 11, which is where we receive wheat from the Seaboard vessels. Then, thanks to the floating crane (E-crane), the wheat is unloaded and transferred to our new storage silos.

At the production side, our mill is composed of three lines, the two main ones with a capacity of 400MT per day, have been entirely renovated with new Buhler equipment. The maximum capacity of the mill is 1020MT per day.

The mill runs 24h / 24h with a day dedicated to preventive maintenance. The rotations are organized in three shifts during which the teams of millers follow the good production of the mill and the bagging of the products.

Deliveries are made during the day when the trucks of our suppliers are loaded so that the flour is sent to the final consumer in Bas Congo, Kinshasa, but also in very remote areas accessible only by barge on the Congo River.

The bran produced is then stored before being re-exported on Seaboard ships to North Africa, where they will be sold. MIDEMA is one of the only exporters of food products in the DRC.

Our Kingawba plant in Kinshasa receives part of the bran to be processed into animal feed.

How many employees/collaborators work at Midema?

We employ around 300 employees and 100 laborers per day on our three sites (Matadi, Kinshasa; Kingabwa, Kinshasa; Gombe).

What are the typical daily challenges Midema faces?

Some challenges we face is that the business climate in the DRC is not easy and corruption is a problem. Midema regularly deals with harassment on many levels (fiscal, legal and operational).

The political and economical environment is rather complicated at the moment with elections scheduled for the end of 2018, a depreciation of the Congolese franc, which has greatly reduced the purchasing power of the population.

Logistics is also very difficult given the lack of good infrastructure making the supply of our products sometimes difficult.

What is the latest project or improvement Midema went through?

The most recent improvements we’ve made was the renovation of the two main lines of the mill with new Buhler equipment, the installation of two new generators and a new 1500KVA transformer.

Are there any new projects developing in Midema, if so can you provide details about them?

Yes, the main projects include the following:

  1. The intake scale installation finalization.
  2. The setup of a new structure for loading and handling trucks. Currently, our truck loading is located in our plant yard. This presents a significant risk and does not make truck maneuvers easy.
  3. The centralization of the different warehouses (used for spare parts) into a single warehouse with a better management system.
  4. The power supply of the new silos and the barge from the public network. Currently, generators power these installations, which represents a significant cost.
  5. The High Voltage project, which consists of building a short 132 kV line between the electric substation of SNEL and MIDEMA and to install a 132/15 kV transformer in MIDEMA. This project would allow us to save a significant amount of money, given the price difference between the medium and high voltage. A preliminary study had established that the return on investment would be less than three years.
  6. The increase of our flour storage capacities and the renewal of our bagging structure and equipment.
  7. The implementation of an HSE structure to improve our performance in hygiene and safety at the factory.

What makes Midema unique or different than others?

Midema has been operating in the DRC since 1973, and has been through very difficult periods during which many large companies have closed. This is a great example of our success as an international group.

Also, the company has a very good reputation within the population and with the government, which is of great value. Our customers are very familiar with the image of our company, the Mama Mobokoli in Lingala (the mother of the family), which represents the quality as well as the proximity to local bakery artisans.

Midema, via the Seaboard Group, is now one of the biggest American investors in this country.

What was the last social event, gathering or celebration you had at Midema?

Last November, we had a visit from Steve Bresky and Dave Dannov, which was an opportunity for us to review our activities and to present and meet our teams during a lively evening.

We regularly organize with the CCLD, the clinic that was created by the Bresky Foundation. The latest ones were training on Malaria and preventative measures. During these events, free tests are performed on babies. Also, we have organized other initiatives such as AIDS screenings for pregnant women, diabetes and hypertension.

Pictured below is our CCLD Social Responsibilities Initiatives:

The Launch of the Fimbu (the whip in Lingala) Campaigning Against Angola Flour Importations:

Celebrations of Woman’s Day with our Mamas Distributors:

Presentations of our feed products and new packaging to farmers and distributors:

How’s life in the DRC? Weather, economy, infrastructure, traffic, government, society, etc.?

The DRC can be challenging and adventurous. It has relatively high crime rates, and there is still economic and political instability.

The standard of infrastructure across the DRC is poor, with the provisions of basic services in most towns, including electricity and water, often subjected to disruptions, if present at all. The country’s healthcare system is in a dire state, and Western-standard medical facilities are virtually non-existent outside of Kinshasa.

What is special about the DRC? Touristic spots or interesting things to see and do, etc.

The DR Congo is a vast country with immense economic resources and it is very culturally and ethnically diverse with over 200 ethnic groups. It features mesmerizing scenery, restless landscapes, waterfalls, a mosaic of savannahs, swamp forests and some of the most spectacular and endangered wildlife in the world.

The sights are hard to reach but the main ones in the country are the Virunga National Park where you can see the gorillas and climb the Nyaragongo volcano. Closer to our facilities, the Zongo Waterfalls and the Mangrove National Park in Moanda where we can see manatees and sea turtles.