A.O.M. In Egypt

by Teresa Acklin
Share This:

Explosive growth in region's flour milling activity sparks record turn-out.

   A mid the stunning grandeur of Pharaonic tombs and soaring temples dating back from Cairo on the Nile River. The setting was appropriate for the group, whose occupation is at least as old as the surrounding monuments — and just as enduring.

   The occasion was the eighth annual conference and trade show of the Association of Operative Millers Middle East/East Africa District. Hosted by Egyptian millers, the conference attracted up to 250 delegates, a record number that included equipment and services suppliers and grain exporting representatives.

   The standing-room-only educational sessions included presentations of 12 technical papers and a "What's New?" program. Mycotoxins in grain and the pros and cons of wheat debranning for flour milling dominated many discussions, both formally and informally.

   The record attendance and intense interest from delegates was based in large part on the "explosion of flour milling" that has occurred within the region in recent years. Egypt, for example, has experienced tremendous growth in its milling industry, and millers from other countries in the region noted that new mills, expansion and modernization projects were enlarging capacity to varying degrees.

   Kamal Ghoneim, chairman of Egypt's Holding Company for Rice and Flour Mills, a quasi-governmental public enterprise company, said the surge in Egypt's milling capacity had enabled the country to cut flour imports by 48% between 1993-94 and 1994-95. The current annual capacity of Egypt's public milling units is 6.5 million tonnes of wheat, he said, consisting of 4.9 million for 82% extraction flour (used in basic bread) and 1.6 million for 72% extraction flour (used in specialty bread and baked goods). Private sector millers operating mills leased from the state grind an additional 670,000 tonnes for 72% extraction flour, Mr. Ghoneim said; production of that type of flour jumped by 130% in 1993 alone, he noted. (See Focus on Egypt on page 42 for more on the milling industry.)

   Although sharing information on milling developments was the meeting's primary focus, delegates were able to take advantage of the area's historical and cultural offerings. Upper Egypt Flour Mills Co. sponsored guided tours of the ancient Karnak Temple nearby, and suppliers hosted receptions that included boat outings on the Nile, folk music and other traditional entertainment.

   Paul Wiest, left, 1996-97 A.O.M. president, received a commemorative plaque of the conference from the mayor of Luxor, Egypt, site of the eighth annual event.

   Dr. Abdel-Hamid El-Ghoneimy, right, chairman of A.O.M. District 16, and Helmy Nayel, Egyptian Millers Co. and milling consultant, at the A.O.M. trade show, which attracted about 35 exhibitors from Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.