“Including the export, the milling capacity of Kazakhstan is currently 2 times more than the requirement. If we predict the situation, a number of small milling companies are likely to be forced to reorganize their production or pull out of the market. However, this situation enables the larger companies to activate the construction of high-tech production lines.”
One of the leading flour mills of Kazakhstan, MK Romana had the capacity of 25 tons per day when it became operational in 1999. The Company, which has never interrupted its investments in the last 15 years, currently has the production capacity of 750 tons per day in its state of art plant. The company’s technology expert Litvinenko Aleksandr Ivanovic who answered our magazine’s questions about MK Romana and flour milling sector in Kazakhstan states that as a Company, they have made serious investments in the last 15 years and so they have no investment plan in near future. Stating that the milling capacity of Kazakhstan is surplus to requirement, Ivanovic thinks that a lot of small mills will have to pull out of the market and bigger companies will upgrade their technologies. We are discussing the details about Romana and Kazakhstan with Ivanovic.
Mr. Ivanovic, could you please give us some information about your Company MK Romana? What can you say about your Company and how you have come to today?
Our Company Romana which was founded on 30 November 1999 has become one of the leading companies in the grain processing sector in Kostanay Region in the last 15 years. Our mill complex produces first class, second class and upper class flour and processed products. We have been working for a long time. The establishment and development of our Company is simultaneous with the establishment and development of Independent and Young Kazakhstan; in other words, we started business in economically hard times.
Could you give us information on your facility, capacity and technologies you used? What can you say about the level of your company in capacity and technology usage?
Our Company which started operations in 1999 purchasing Penztesktilmash Russian Facility’s Fermer – 4C mill with 25 tons of grain production capacity per day has increased its production capacity thanks to its new production structure and modernization with latest technology. Upon joining a new Fermer 4C Mill with 25 tons of grain production capacity per day in June, 2001, the total production has increased 50 tons per day. The equipment of the mill changed in 2004 and we started to use KAVO firm’s equipment which has 60 tons of production capacity. In 2006, milling equipment has replaced with the mill complex of a Turkish Company named as Özenir, which has 400 tons of production capacity. In the following 9 years, we have modernized our mill complex several times. As a result, we have not worked in vain and we have founded a big business. Currently, MK Romana handles up to 750 tons of grain per day.
What can you say about your product variety and the position of your company in Kazakhstani market? Which properties of your company distinguish you from your rivals?
Our products consist of packaged flour with 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 kg and also bran and grain wastes. When compared to its kinds, our automatic mill complex where primary technological processes are computer controlled has a deep wheat processing facility. Flour of Romana is produced from grains which are held in a special air-conditioning to conserve the nutrients, vitamins and micro elements. Gluten content existing sufficiently in the flour ensures a good volume and porosity for the baked flour products. Our flour has been in the market for 15 years and we can say that most of our associated companies have been working with us since our establishment, because they like our flour and its quality.
Are you working only for the Kazakhstani market in the flour milling industry? Are there any export activities or do you have any goals for export?
Gaining a trustworthy company image both in the nation and abroad throughout its history, the Company has made a number of sales agreements for flour. Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey are the partner countries of our Company. We should highlight that there are no boundaries for our Company! We are always open to cooperation and ready to go into business partnership outside Kazakhstan.
Where do you procure your raw materials from and how do you obtain them?
We buy third class soft wheat for our production. That our facility is equipped with the laboratories including state of art machinery enables us to analysis the grains rapidly and properly. The main criteria for grains to be used as follows: Moisture – up to 14, Naturalness – 730 g/l, foreign matter – 1 percent, foreign grain up to 1 percent, gluten - from 23 percent. We buy grains from regional manufacturers including big limited companies and farms.
As MK Romana, what is your future goal for the investment and market objective?
As we have modernized our company recently, I should say that we have no investment plan for any big program.
Kazakhstan is one of the leading wheat producers and exporters in the world. What is the position of your country in the world in terms of flour milling?
Of course, general economic conditions of the country and the sector affect the course of the business. Kazakhstan has been near the top for several years in terms of flour export. Currently, Kazakhstan has almost 650 mill complex. About 100 of them locate in Kostanay Region and the total capacity of these facilities increase gradually. As far as we know, the mill complexes currently have 10-12 million tons of grain processing capacity per year. Besides, our country sells nearly 8 million tons of grains to foreign markets. According to the information received by the head of The League of Grain Processors and Bakers of Kazakhstan (SZHK), both flour production and flour export is increasing gradually. Milling industry is actually an example of a consistent and efficient development in wheat industry and also internal legislation enables this sector to develop actively.
What do you think about the future development of your country especially in terms of flour industry?
No matter what happens, Kazakhstan has always been an agricultural country and will always be so. Cultivation and processing of grains is our priority in agricultural production. However, milling industry has always had difficulties, for example we can immediately observe the effect of any fluctuation in the market on the volume of demands for our products. This effect is not always positive. While talking about the milling industry, it is good to state that current mill complexes in our country have been built in the last 10-12 years or renovated completely. Including our Romana, most of the mill complexes in Kazakhstan primarily use the Turkish milling equipment and Swiss ones secondly.
Up until today, our country needed 5-6 million tons of grain processing capacity to meet the existing export potential. However, the total installed capacity of current milling facilities in the country is around 10-12 million tons. Consequently, including the export, the milling capacity of Kazakhstan is 2 times more than the requirement. If we predict the situation, a number of small milling companies are likely to be forced to reorganize their production or pull out of the market. However, this situation enables the larger companies to activate the construction of high-tech production lines.
Could you give us some information about the flour industry in your country and the consumption habits of your people? For what kind of products is flour used and how is it consumed?
As mentioned earlier, lower amount of product is sufficient for domestic use in Kazakhstan. Of course, most of Kazakhstani flour is used to produce bread. No family in our country can live without their staple food, bread. As the old saying goes “Bread is the head of everything”. We as the producers work really hard to improve the quality of flour products. We follow GOST Standards (Governmental standards), control every step of production, and choose the best raw material. Kazakhstani flour has always had the status of high quality and we as the manufacturer of this product are happy to know that we contribute to the image of Kazakhstani products.