“I strongly believe that the millers must be organized; we manufacture the most sensitive product to feed humans; we must be intelligent in the decisions; the world needs food, the world needs us, we cannot ignore it and when I said “us” I said “the world milling industry”, we must assume the commitment to social entrepreneur.”
This month, we talked with Diego H. CIFARELLI, President of Argentinian Federation of the Milling Industry (FAIM). Operating for more than 60 years, FAIM is considered highly significant by Argentinians since the bread is one of the most sensitive foods.
Informing us that Argentinian milling industry is composed by about 100 milling companies, Diego H. Cifarelli says “we have milling companies with the latest technologies and another with more years, and there are a lot of milling companies with more than 100 years of experience, which is great.”
With Diego H. Cifarelli, we talked about FAIM’s place in Argentinian milling industry, milling capacity of the country, the millers’ approach to new technologies and the targets of FAIM.
Mr. Cifarelli, first of all, could you please give us some information about the association and your activities in FAIM?
The Argentinian Federation of the Milling Industry is composed by about 100 milling companies that represent the 95% of the offer in the market. FAIM was created in 1954. It is very important for the people of the government in our country, bread is very popular and represents one of the most sensitive things and it is essential in the basic basket. My work is to represent all and each of the partners from various agencies; I try to make the entrepreneurs’ job a little easier every day. I have been working in the industry since 1996, during 15 years at the front of a flour mill and since 2011 at the front of all industries.
Could you please give us some information on the Argentinian flour milling industry? What can you say about the number of the mills, milling capacities and technology usage level?
The milling capacity is approximately 40.000 tons a day, 200 milling companies, and 15 days a month, we do not have much activity. It is very difficult for the companies; I think that in the following years we will have a restructuration in the market.
How is the approach of the milling companies towards the new technologies? Is there any increase in the recent milling and technology investments?
The investments in technology are satisfactory, we have milling companies with the latest technologies and another with more years, and there are a lot of milling companies with more than 100 years of experience, which is great.
Do all of the mills in Argentina realize their production completely for the domestic consumption? Are there any export activities of the mills in your country?
About 70 milling companies export, this activity is very important for us, but in some moments there are some reasons that make this situation very difficult, for example quality wheat, tariff barriers, etc.
What is the level of raw material in your country? How much of the raw material processed in the mills is produced in your country, and how much of it imported? Which countries do you prefer for the imports?
The wheat in our country is very important for the farmers, Argentina has been one of the greatest in wheat in the last 50 years, unfortunately we have come through different difficult situations, but I hope that next year Argentina will return to the international market, we don’t need to import cereal, all the consumption comes from our own harvest.
Could you please give some information on the flour consumption amount and consumption culture of Argentina? For instance; for which food products the flour is used and how is it consumed? What are the preferences of your consumers in bakery product consumption?
We have European traditions; the domestic consumption is very high, we are consuming about 120 kilos wheat per person a year. Bakery products are very required, the bakery industry is very big in my country, and there are almost 35.000 bakery industries in this moment.
What do you think about the future development of your country in terms of both the improvement of the milling industry and consumption amounts and preferences of your country? What are your future expectations about your industry?
We have an strategic plan for the next five years, the most important problem is not the transparency in the business and the excess of capacity; we are very busy in these areas, without any results, it will be very difficult for the future Argentinian milling companies.
What do you think about your position when you compare your country to other countries in American continent in terms of milling? What do you aim in order to strengthen the position of your industry throughout the world in the future?
Argentina is one of most important country in production of wheat flour in the American continent, it both represents, in the chain, the most important in the area of cereal, the production of wheat in our country is going to be highlighted again in the American continent. Is very important for us and it is very important for the country. The Faim is an ALIM (Latin American Milling association) member, we work with the American brothers’ country, we believe in strategic alliances.
As an association especially, do you have any projects for your industry that are being realized right now or will be realized in the coming years?
As I said earlier, we have an strategic plan that was made by my work team FAIM and celebrated by all associates, this is very ambitious, I am sure that all those objectives will be achieved, we work very hard for it, but I think that there are some things that will change in our industrial sector.
Finally, what would you like to add about your association and the flour milling industry in your country?
I strongly believe that the millers must be organized; we manufacture the most sensitive product to feed humans; we must be intelligent in the decisions; and institutions like FAIM or ALIM are the heart for the alliance or industry discussions, the world needs food, the world needs us, we cannot ignore it and when I said “us” I said “the world milling industry”, we must assume the commitment to social entrepreneur. Thanks for the opportunity and a very special greeting to all the colleagues of the world.