MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Understanding the wheat milling process was the focus for eight Nigerians and one South African who attended the Advanced Flour Milling course sponsored by the U.S. Wheat Associates and hosted by the Kansas State University’s (KSU) International Grains Program, Aug. 17-26.
"Through this course the participants have a better understanding of how to objectively evaluate mill performance, and appreciate the quality and consistency of U.S. Hard Red winter wheat," said Mark Fowler, course coordinator and associate director for the International Grains Program, housed on the KSU campus.
In addition to classroom lectures, participants gained hands-on training in the KSU milling laboratories, including the Hal Ross Mill. Students focused on applying the principles of wheat milling, wheat and flour quality evaluation and plant operations.
In speaking about the course, Dapo Arowona, manager of baking support for Honeywell Flour Mills, PLC in Ogun State, Nigeria, said, "I have a better understanding of the challenges millers face." He explains, "I have a better perspective on wheat and how it is blended not only from different farms, but different states."
Arowana believes the knowledge and skill learned in this class will help him be a more effective manager for his company.
Arowana’s sentiments are echoed by Domenique De Oliveira, program coordinator for U.S. Wheat Associates. De Oliveira is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and serves to build trade for American wheat in Africa.
"If I get queries, I will be more knowledgeable in answering them because I have a better understanding of how milling works," said De Oliveira. "I learned there is a science to milling and an art form to working wheat."
This education is an important component to marketing U.S. Hard Red winter wheat in Nigeria, said Fowler.
"Nigeria is the largest importer of U.S. Hard Red winter wheat. This market accounts for more than 3.5 million tonnes of wheat per year and is growing," Fowler said.
This class is just one example of the many short courses offered through IGP. In addition to milling, grain science specialists lead classes in grain purchasing, feed manufacturing, grain elevator management and risk management.