No near-term flour price hike in NFM's future

by Eric Schroeder
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TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO — Less than a week after news surfaced that National Flour Mills (NFM) Ltd. was considering whether to increase its flour prices, the Ministry of Trade and Industry for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago assured that no such action is in the immediate future.

The announcement was made following a Dec. 4 meeting attended by Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, Nigel Romano, chairman of NFM, and Kelvin Mahabir, chief executive officer of NFM, to discuss factors affecting potential increases in the price of flour.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Trade and Industry stressed the importance of the company controlling its operating costs in flour production and other areas of business.

“The minister raised the issue of the pricing of the main types of wheat, which represents a major ingredient in the production of flour,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said. “The company was urged to adopt procurement practices that beneficially hedged against increases in prices. The chairman of NFM informed the minister that the company will exhaust all available avenues to manage its operating costs and that any adjustment in prices will be an absolute last resort.”

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said NFM’s executives informed it of the various initiatives currently being undertaken by the company to improve productivity, quality management, process efficiencies and employee welfare. The activities include modification of the feed mill, automation of plant systems, acquisition of new equipment and machinery for the dry mix operation and employee training programs, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

“The chairman indicated that the board of directors and management of NFM have been working assiduously to develop strategies to diversify its revenues streams from its other product segments,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said. “NFM gave the commitment to engage the Ministry more frequently on strategic matters and to continue collaboration with the government in the export diversification thrust.”

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