Enriching Flour, Enriching Lives: The Flour Fortification Initiative

9. The Flour Mill as a Suitable Location
A flour mill is the logical location of choice to perform fortification for the obvious reasons mentioned above. While there are other potential downstream flour processors that can also fortify flour or semolina-based products, several important factors explain why a flour mill is the most effective location for fortification. The following list provides the key points:
• Naturally adaptable process
• Large scale of production
• Technical knowledge, skills, and expertise of millers
• Familiarity with the process of dispensing powder-based flour improvers
• Suppliers to various end users.

10. Technical Capacity to Fortify
around the World Fortification is most easily done in roller mills, which have a daily capacity above 20 – 50 metric tons. However, many countries of the world have both a modern wheat milling sector with a capacity above these levels and a traditional cottage milling industry with a smaller capacity. Cottage mills constitute a technical challenge to fortification, and technology is currently being developed to enable these mills to fortify (Ranum and Wesley, 2003). As the ability of a country to fortify flour currently depends on the presence of a modern milling infrastructure, it is important to examine the milling infrastructure of various regions.

The percentage of a country's flour milled in each of these two sectors differs according to the region (Bagriansky, 2002). In general, the balance between these two sectors can be compared to either the situation in the South East Asian region or that in the regions of Africa and the Middle East. In South East Asia where cereals are not traditionally grown, most flour consumed is imported and milled at a few large modern mills in each country. The cottage flourmilling industry is small to non-existent. In the Middle East and South Asia, wheat is grown and has been a traditional crop for centuries. There are large numbers of mills in these areas, and while many are large and modern, there is a substantial cottage industry too (Bagrianski, 2003). In India, for example, big modern mills process only 15-20% of the flour consumed.

Sub-Saharan and West Africa are an interesting mix of these two trends. In the 34 countries out of 45 for which information was available when this chapter was written, 28 have centralized milling amenable to fortification with a small number of large mills. There is a wide range in the development of milling infrastructures, with 5 countries such as Gambia and Liberia having no flour mills, and three countries such as Kenya having large developed milling sectors with 10-20 mills (Nystrom, 2003). More statistics are available at the FFI website www.sph.emory.edu/wheatflour/Main.htm.


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