“Bulgaria has an important potential among the European countries in the future and my opinion is that the future development of Bulgaria in terms of grain processing and milling industry is improvement of technologies, modern infrastructure, knowledge transfer and implementation of innovations, development of market infrastructure and effective competitive environment.”
Having operating in rice milling industry for nearly 90 years, Agromill Bulgaria AD is known as one of Bulgaria’s leading milling companies. Considering quality as integral part of the company policy, Agromill Bulgaria AD is aiming to maintain strict rules for quality according to the global requirements in rice milling industry. Answering Miller Magazine’s questions, Executive Director of Agromill Bulgaria AD Savina VLAHOVA says that in Bulgaria there are centuries of tradition and experience in growing paddy rice and wheat and she adds: “The local consumption is about 35% of the production. Most of Bulgarian people eat bread (about 90%) each day, pastries – savory or sweetened, pizza, etc. About 1.8 million people buy wheat flour and the predominant type is 500.” We learn further details from Vlahova.
Ms. Vlahova, your company Agromill Bulgaria AD is a long traditional Bulgarian company in processing of paddy rice. Could you please give us some information about your company and how you have come to today?
Agromill Bulgaria AD is a Bulgarian company with a long tradition in processing of paddy rice. Nearly 90 years the company's activity has been focused on rice milling. It was founded in 1928 and well-known as Bulgarian Rice Factory until 2004, when the name was changed to Agromill Bulgaria in order to better reflect the expanded scope of activity. Regardless several changes in the ownership of the company, including being state one for the period 1947-1997, the tradition and continuity have been kept. Nowadays Agromill Bulgaria AD is a private company implementing modern technologies and equipment, following a program for high quality, efficiency and competitiveness.
At the end of 2015 Agromill Bulgaria AD successfully completed a two year project. The repairs and reconstruction of the existing buildings were carried out during the project implementation, the extension to the administrative building with office building, a laboratory, and a scale, a railroad terminal was built, the internal factory’s platforms and roads were renovated, new machines and laboratory equipment were purchased, including new technological line supplied by the world leader in the production of mill equipment Bühler GmbH Germany for processing of paddy rice.
What can you say about your product variety and the position of your company in Bulgarian market? Which properties of your company distinguish you from your rivals?
Now Agromill Bulgaria AD has the following activities: wheat and paddy rice milling, production of flour and rice, grain storage in public warehouses, logistic, and trade with grain and oilseeds.
The company’s quality policy is the most important characteristic which distinguish it from its competitors. Quality is integral part of the company policy. Our goal is to maintain strict rules for quality according to the global requirements in this field. At Agromill Bulgaria AD, quality does not mean only excellent products, but also excellent relations with our customers and suppliers at every level. The raw materials are selected with care and have all required qualities. We deliver products that meet the expectations and give full satisfaction to customers. In order to ensure the optimum quality production, our each manufacturing process is separately and minutely tested under stringent conditions. In cooperation with our suppliers and by using modern production technologies and control we achieve maximum safety of our products. And last but not least, Agromill Bulgaria AD has well-trained and skilled staff of 45 people, supervised by a professional management team.
Could you give us some information about the facility, capacity and technologies you used? What can you say about the level of your company in terms of capacity and technology usage?
The factory is located on an area of 50,000 square meters in the Northern Industrial Zone of Plovdiv, close to the city center, including the built-up area of about 28,000 square meters for production facilities – rice and wheat mills, warehouses and silos for grain, ready product warehouses, and office buildings. The local railway terminal and a railroad are serving the warehouse system in the yard with loading and shipment capacity of 8 wagons or 400 tons grain a day.
The production capacity is 420 tons of paddy/24 hours in Rice mill, 90 tons of wheat/24 hours in wheat mill and 50,000 tons of grain in grain warehouses with ventilation systems. We use highest class assembly line Bühler for the processing of paddy rice in our rice mill. We work with big bread factories, supermarkets and packing workshops.
Are there any other fields you give service besides paddy rice processing? If there are other fields you working on, could you give us some information also about them?
We, as Agromill Bulgaria AD, have services such as public warehouse for grain and feed storage with capacity of 50 thousand tons; we have also logistic services as loading and shipment of grain and feed on railway wagons with a capacity of 400 tons a day. In addition, we can make toll manufacturing for our customers from their own raw material such as wheat and paddy rice, and production of wheat flour and rice; we can make packing of flour and rice for our customers under their own brands; we are trading with grain, grain products and feed.
Are you working only for the Bulgarian market? Are there any export activities or do you have any goals for export?
No, we don’t work for the Bulgarian market only. We export wheat flour and rice to different countries such as Macedonia, Greece, Cyprus, Serbia, Albania, Romania and Hungary and rice to Turkey.
Could you give us some information also on the rice/grain processing in your country and the consumption habits of your people? What is the position of Bulgaria in the world in terms of grain processing, flour production, quality and consumption?
In Bulgaria there are centuries of tradition and experience in growing paddy rice and wheat. For paddy rice the country has favorable climatic and soil conditions, modern irrigated rice fields and irrigation systems, water resources, build facilities for the storage and processing. There are built about 247 million square meters of irrigated rice fields with modern irrigation and drainage canal network and facilities. The rice production and processing grow in recent years. The quality is good, the implementation of new technologies leads to increased stability.
According to the data of the Bulgarian Ministry of agriculture and food there are about 11 billion square meters land sown with wheat crop at the end of 2015. The local consumption is about 35% of the production. Most of Bulgarian people eat bread (about 90%) each day, pastries – savory or sweetened, pizza, etc. About 1.8 million people buy wheat flour and the predominant type is 500.
Bulgaria ranks 10th in European Union in terms of cereal production (according to Eurostat – the statistical office of the European Union) and 20th in terms of production of wheat in the world (according to FAOSTAT – Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). In world trade Bulgaria ranks 12th largest exporter of wheat and first place in the export of sunflower seeds (according to USDA – United States Department of Agriculture).
Bulgaria is having an important potential among the continental countries in the future. What do you foresee for the future of your country? What do you think about the development of Bulgaria especially in terms of grain processing/milling industry?
Yes, Bulgaria has an important potential among the European countries in the future. The country’s location is a natural bridge between the East and the West. Because of Bulgarian traditionally good foreign relations with neighbors this location determines unique opportunities for us to learn and implement the best practices of European Union’s countries as well as the best practices of the countries of the East and it is the basis of the future increasing development of trade, investments, cultural exchange and exchange of experience.
My opinion is that the future development of Bulgaria in terms of grain processing/milling industry is improvement of technologies, modern infrastructure, knowledge transfer and implementation of innovations, development of market infrastructure and effective competitive environment.
As Agromill Bulgaria AD, what is your future goal for the investment and market objective?
The investment plan of Agromill Bulgaria AD for the next years is to establish club of the rice producers in the country; to build a petrol station in the factory’s area; to build two more flat warehouses; to build new silos for additionally 12,000 tons of grain, connected to the railway grain terminal. Now the predominant part of company’s export is export of paddy rice, sunflower seeds and wheat. The future plans are for export mainly of ready production – wheat flour, rice and sunflower oil.
What would you like to add?
I would like to use this opportunity and to wish Turkey’s people peace and stability, faith in humanism, in good and in human values. Let us always be guided by the belief that better days are ahead for our world.