May 09, 2017

10/05/2017: Information is power

by Clifford Spencer, Chief Executive Officer, Global Biotechnology Transfer

Last month saw a visit made by four of the Milling4Life trustees to the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) event in Kansas City in the United States

Clifford Spencer
This is the largest event of its kind in the world and as such the very best place to learn of the latest developments in grain storage, handling, transport, testing, logistics and trends. Attending ensured the trustees were fully informed in their quest to bring the latest and most appropriate milling technology to developing countries.

This is because without all the areas covered by GEAPS being in place the milling part of the food production process can become beleaguered in quality and supply problems. It was very helpful for me to see the most recent advances in technology as they continue to develop at a frenetic pace.

This a reader may feel is to the disadvantage of developing countries but in reality it can be an enormous advantage as it allows the opportunity to technology hop.

By that I mean some of the stages of technology development that traditionally more advanced countries have gone through can be missed out altogether, and new and better ways of doing things can then become the norm straight away.

The often-quoted example is that of the move from landlines to mobile phones in the telecoms industry. When mobiles are directly employed as a first move in telecoms then imagine all the work that has been saved in putting up telegraph poles and running physical lines as well as underground cabling where required for safety or environmental reasons.

In a similar manner having the latest support technology ready and available in terms of storage, transport and testing for a green field start for the milling industry in developing countries allows enormous opportunity for their citizens and most importantly allows not only a catching up process to be completed much more quickly but the opportunity for these countries to become industry leaders.

Quality control is key in any industry and I saw some excellent examples of seed testing equipment and technology being displayed in Kansas. The use of mobile technology to transmit this testing data and obtain rapid results for growers and traders is often key to the success of many agricultural processes; information is power, it is often said in this respect particularly when farmers are marketing their goods.

In developing countries allowing smallholder farmers to take part in the food and feed production line in a meaningful and representative way conveys all sorts of benefits in terms of community cohesion, socio-economic benefit and particularly beneficial economic growth.

If the modernising process is not anchored in the local community then they do not feel the benefits, therefore much is lost in terms of generating economic benefits at the start of the development process. Technology allows this local anchoring to happen much more easily.

Read the full article HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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