The European flour millers discover the China grain chain

A delegation of European flour millers went to Beijing in September 2012. The objective was to discover the Chinese grain chain and its functioning, from the sourcing of raw materials to the consumption of bakery products.

The delegation met a wide range of experts to discuss the following issues:

  • Where is China in its economic and political cycle, exchange with Leslie Hook (Correspondent for the Financial Times in Beijing) - her blog on the FT

Wheat & the grain chain in China

  • The Chinese agricultural policy, current strengths & weaknesses and perspectives, exchange with Markus Klingler (Head of Agricultural section at the Delegation of the EU to China)
  • Wheat's potential in China and prospects for GM crops, exchange with Pierre Cohadon (Territory Head at Syngenta China)
  • The grain chain and the structure of the cereals & wheat market in China, exchange with Daron Hoffman (Director of Research Shanghai, Food/Agribusiness Research and Advisory at Rabobank)

Sinograin & COFCO

  • China's practice and experiences of safeguarding the nation's food security with grain reserves; exchange with Zhu Chunkui (Deputy Director-General, Department of General Affairs, China Grain Reserves Corporation or Sinograin)

China Grain Reserves Corporation (Sinograin) is a State-owned enterprise which plays a key role in caring out state initiatives to ensure China's food security and economic growth.

  • What is the China National Cereal, Oilseeds and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) and introduction to its processing division; exchange with Tian Tao (Manager of Wheat Processing Department at COFCO)

COFCO, China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, is one of China's State-owned food processing holding companies. COFCO Group is China's largest food processing, manufacturer and trader. Founded in 1952, it is one of the largest SOEs of the 49 directly administrated by China's State Council. Between 1952 and 1987, it was the sole agricultural products importer and exporter operating under direct control of the central government. IN 2007, the Corporation had just over 60.000 employees in multiple locations in China as well as overseas operations in countries like the US, UK, Japan, Australia and Canada.

Besides the food business, COFCO has developed itself into a diversified conglomerate, involving planting, cultivation, food-processing, finance, warehouse, transportation, port facilities, hotels and real estate. It is one of the top 500 enterprises chosen by US's Fortune Magazine.

Flour milling & backing industry in China

  • China's wheat milling sector, by Daron Hoffman (Director of Research Shanghai, Food/Agribusiness Research and Advisory at Rabobank)
  • The Chinese flour milling industry, exchange with Professor Li Dongsen (Grain College at Henan University, Chairman of ZhengZhou Golden Grain Industrial Co. Ltd, Deputy Secretary-General of the China Wheat Associates)
  • Introduction to the Chinese baking industry, exchange with Zhou Guangjun (Secretary-General of the China Association of Bakery & Confectionery Industry)

See also a recent WorldGrain article on Wudeli, China's largest flour miller.

Representatives of the European Flour Millers also met Mr Bai Mei Qing, Chairman of the China National Association of the Grain Sector (CNAGS) and Mrs Zhao Yi Yi, Director of China National Association of Grain Sector, Secretary-General of Sub-Association of Wheat Sector.

Sites visited by the EFM Delegation

  • Gongyifu Food Co. Ltd
  • Hebei Shenghua Flour Mill
  • Guchuan Flour Mill
  • Bühler Service Station (Guan)
  • Holiland Factory (Holiland, one of the largest bakery chains in China, controls more than 1000 cake shops in 70 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyuang and Chengdu. They specialises in cakes, breads and dim sum and control 85.7% of the market.)