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Vitali Kopytov: Russia can be the world’s guarantor of food security”

08 April 20147 min reading
“Russia has huge food resources, which allow satisfying domestic demand in flour, and exporting the finished products to foreign countries. It strengthens Russia's position as the guarantor of food security in the world.” Altai Flour Mills is a company established by the leading companies of the grain industry in the Altai region of Russia. General Director of the company Mr. Vitali Kopytov states that those companies are the majors of the Russian milling industry. Answering the questions of our magazine on Altai Flour Mills and Russian milling industry, Kopytov states that the flour mills in the Altai region are equipped with technological production lines having a wide performance range and those lines consist of the technologic equipment of Swiss, Turkish, Italian, Russian companies. Mentioning that especially Turkish technology brands are more advantageous in terms of price and quality, Vitali Kopytov emphasizes that Russia can be the world’s guarantor of food security in the future. We get the details about Russia and Altai Flour Mills from Kopytov. Mr. Vitali Kopytov, your company Altai Mills is one of the leading flour mills of Russia. Firstly, could you please give us some information on your company and how you have come to today? Altai Flour Mills Co., Ltd. is situated in Barnaul city of the Altai region of Russia. Altai is one of the largest grain regions of Russia with the biggest arable area and enormous food resources. The wheat grown here is the best wheat in Russia. It is known as an improver for milling blends of wheat grown in other regions of Russia. That’s why, grain crops occupy about 4 million hectares of lands which is more than in any other region of Russia, and total area of Altai cropland equals to 7 million hectares. Altai Flour Mills Co., Ltd. was established by the largest millers of the Altai region in 2008 for consolidated export of flour and groats from Altai to the world market. The founders were major grain processing enterprises of the Altai region: Incorporation of grain processing enterprises “Grana”, Closed corporation “Aleyskzernoprodukt”, Agro-industrial company “Melnik”, Public corporation “Kluchevskoy elevator”. These enterprises have great production potential and totally produce more than 13% of the Russian flour and 22% of the Russian groats. Today, our company draws other Russian manufacturers for execution of export contracts. This allows executing major contracts in short time thanks to simultaneous shipment of large consignments from several mills. Over the past years, the company has become a leader in export of flour and groats from Russia, has proved itself as a reliable partner of UN World Food Program in humanitarian operations participation. What can you say about your flour processing facilities, capacity, product variety and the position in the Russian market? Flour mills of the Altai region are equipped with technological lines of a wide performance range (50 to 500 T/day). The basis of these technological lines consists of technological equipment of the Swiss, Turkish, Italian, Russian (Swiss reproduced) firms. We use equipment of the Russian, Korean, Chinese and Ukrainian companies on some auxiliary technological operations. Many, if not most, flour lines are equipped with the Turkish grinding and cleaning equipment. This is due to the fact that equipment of the Turkish companies in many cases and on the aggregate of price and quality has a considerable advantage in comparison with equipment of other foreign firms. Altai has a powerful milling industry, which has been actively developed in view of the European and world milling trends in product range, quality and safety. Flour milling technologies are built on modern technologies of suppliers of the main processing equipment taking into account local peculiarities. Many enterprises have been implementing or have already implemented ISO international standards for safety and quality of products. As we know, you produce other products besides flour. Could you give some information also on the product varieties of your company? As I have already mentioned, the Altai region is the largest agricultural region of Russia. The share of agriculture in the Gross Regional Product is more than 56%. With a total population of about 2% of the population of Russia, the Altai region is ranked 1st in the sown area of grain and pulses crops, production of flour and groats. Enterprises of Altai Flour Mills Co. produce not only flour, but also a wide range of groats - semolina, pearl barley, peeled barley, oats, buckwheat, peas and others. In addition, the range of products is pasta, crude sunflower oil, mixed fodder. This products are supplied in all regions of Russia and for export. Could you give information on whether you have activities for export and your goal about that? Enterprises of founders of Altai Flour Mills Co are leaders of the milling industry of Russia. Major products are shipped to the Russian regions, and geography of deliveries is very wide - from Vladivostok and other Far Eastern points to Moscow and Kaliningrad of the European part of Russia. Trading and industrial organizations and retail trade networks are among the clients. Altai Flour Mills Co has a narrow specialization and is engaged exclusively in export sales. The main markets are the countries of the Central and South-Eastern Asia - Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, China, North Korea, Indonesia and others. Deliveries are carried out under commercial contracts, as well as through the UN World Food Program and EMERCOM Agency in the framework of the implementation of humanitarian operations. Thanks to the high quality of the Altai wheat and good technological infrastructure of the mills, we are able to produce high-quality flour according to the individual requirements of a customer and in accordance with international standards. Our company was the first among the Russian food manufacturers which passed certification according to the Indonesian standard SNI and commenced supplying flour to Indonesia. In addition, Altai Flour Mills is the only private company registered in UN World Food Program. For participation in humanitarian operations we produce fortified flour in accordance with United Nations standards. Today, our company is among the top three with a total market share of 15 to 20% of export sales of flour from Russia. Could you give some information also on the flour industry in your country and the consumption habits of Russian people? What is the position of Russia in the world in terms of usage milling technologies, flour production amount, quality and consumption? To sum up with just a few words; Russian output of wheat flour was 9854,8 MT and Altai output of flour was 1474 MT in 2013. Consumption of bread is rather stable since 2003 – about 120 kg per capita in Russia and 170 kg per capita in the Altai region. Quality of our flour is well known in many countries of Asia. We have our national standard GOST R 52189-2003 but some of the mills are able to produce flour according to international or individual standards. What do you think about that how will your country progress in terms of the flour industry? Russia has huge food resources, which allow satisfying domestic demand in flour, and exporting the finished products to foreign countries. It strengthens Russia's position as the guarantor of food security in the world. New technologies in milling industry, laboratory researches, packaging, storage and transportation actively come into our lives. This will contribute to progressive development of the milling industry, improve quality of the final product, and increase customers’ satisfaction. As elsewhere in the world, flour-milling industry in Russia will focus on the overall market, go on a way of improving quality of products, diversification of production taking into account the needs and health of final consumers, adopt the best practices of foreign countries. As Altai Mills, what is your future goal for the investment and market objective? We positively look into the future and see the prospects in development of foreign markets for our products. We intend to strengthen our position in the existing export markets and develop new ones. We are interested in the markets of the South-Eastern Asia, Middle East and Africa. Finally, what would you like to add? I’d like to add that we are open for cooperation and we invite customers from all over the world to be our partners and purchase our flour and other products.
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