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Wilfried Rombauts, Stumabo:

"The growth in the number of fresh cut companies in the African continent is remarkable"

The market for processed potatoes and vegetables is growing in North Africa. Wilfried Rombauts, of Stumabo International, has noticed this trend. Stumabo, a manufacturer of precision knives for the food processing industry, is increasingly supplying cutting solutions in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia or Algeria, for example.

"In France, the Netherlands and Belgium we naturally have an ideal climate for growing potatoes, so their numbers cannot yet be compared to those on the African continent," says Wilfried. "However, we receive inquiries from wherever potatoes need to be cut, and in recent years we have definitely noticed a growth trend in the number of fresh cut companies in the African markets."

One particular example, which Wilfried mentions, is the supply to a country like Zambia. "This is not necessarily a country you will think about when there is talk of a big potato harvest. Yet there is a lot of activity here, and more and more machines for processing are in demand. Of course, it is still relatively small-scale, but it was once like that here. This degree of industrialization or professionalization for the processing of potatoes, but also other vegetables, of course, can certainly be considered remarkable."

Stumabo, the sister company of machinery manufacturer FAM, has traditionally produced knives for all kinds of cutting machines for the processing industry for almost all kinds of fruit and vegetables, but also cheese or meat.

"FAM and Stumabo are companies with distinct and independent origins. We have separate sales processes, but there is an extremely intensive cooperation. Over 20 years ago, we ended by chance under the same owner, and since then the mutual cooperation has become stronger and stronger."

According to the commercial manager, this does not mean, incidentally, that they only produce for FAM's machines. "Our blades are suitable for all kinds of machines marketed by different manufacturers."

The company was able to get through the pandemic relatively well. "During the pandemic we noticed that the suppliers who delivered to the catering industry or schools hardly did any cutting at all. Of course, we felt the consequences of this, but since we are active in various niches within the sector there was no major decline. The suppliers of frozen vegetables, for example, were busier. If you then look at how things went for colleagues who are purely active in the fresh vegetable market, we can't really complain."

But that period has already been left behind and the company is focusing on the future. "In recent years, we have seen a steady increase in the demand again. Partly thanks to the popularity of convenience products, there is once again an ever-increasing demand worldwide for food processing machines, and by extension, for our knives," says Wilfried.

For more information:
Wilfried Rombauts
Stumabo International
+32 (0)3 870 70 10

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