Wheat milling plays a crucial role in Argentine agribusiness. According to Federación Argentina de la Industria Molinera (FAIM), Argentina ranked #9 as a wheat flour exporter in 2015, contributing to 3.5% of global trade measured in tons and 3.1% when measured in dollars. It is a key sector for the national economy; given that for each peso worth of production, three new pesos are generated in the whole economy. For every job created in milling, 2.5 jobs are created throughout the economy.
There are other indicators provided by FAIM that are also significant: the value of each ton of wheat is multiplied by transforming it into baked goods, fresh pasta and cookies. One ton of flour converted into baked goods multiplies its value 7.5 times, where the same multiplier for pasta and cookies stands at 8 and 10 times respectively.
In this article, we will analyze some key productive indicators of this activity. Table 1 shows production, export and consumption information provided by FAIM.
The following table shows FAIM data on wheat and bread milling in the Argentine Republic for the year 2016 (Table N ° 2)
A recent report from the Ministry of Agroindustry of Argentina entitled "Wheat Chain" in June 2016 shows that May, June and July are usually the months with the highest volume of milling wheat.
According to this report, bakery bread is the main domestic use for wheat flour, demanding about 70% of total production. Next is home consumption of flour (10% of total demand), pasta, cookies and biscuits, industrial bread and others. As indicated by the report, consumption of wheat flour increases at an annual rate that rarely surpasses 1%.
In the weekly newsletter No. 1693 of Rosario Board of Trade of January 1, 2015, we provide the complete list of wheat mills in Argentina with an estimation of processing capacity. At that time, our country had about 160 wheat mills that operated throughout the national territory. These factories - as a whole - had a theoretical daily wheat mill grinding capacity of 33,000 tons. By computing 300 days in the year, the theoretical annual wheat milling capacity from the Argentine Republic was estimated to be close to 10 million tons.
According to latest data from RUCA, the number of mills dedicated to milling wheat flour rose to 184. Reports from specialists argue that Argentina possibly has a theoretical milling capacity of between 12 and 13 million tons per year.
The document mentioned above reports that as of June 2016 there were 180 mills of wheat flour milling operating in the country. These are distributed among 159 companies and have different milling capacity. Of these, the majority has only one company (94.3%). One of the firms operates 7 mills, two firms have 5 plants each, there is one company with control of 3 mills, and finally, five companies which manage 2 establishments.
A FAIM report indicates that the province of Buenos Aires has 84 plants, 39 are located in the province of Córdoba, 24 in Santa Fe, 15 in Entre Ríos, 6 in Tucumán, 5 in Salta, 4 in La Pampa, 2 In San Juan and Jujuy, and one plant in each of the provinces of San Luis, Santiago del Estero and Chaco.
The FAIM also indicates that 29 plants in Argentina have a milling capacity of more than 360 tons per day, 61 plants are between 120 to 360 tons per day, 49 plants between 34 and 120 tons per day and 45 plants with a capacity of less than 34 tons a day.
In our 2015 report we mentioned the five largest mills in Argentina: at #1 stands Cargill SACI located in Pilar (Buenos Aires province); #2 is Jose Minetti and Cíao Ltda, (Cordoba); then come two factories from company Molinos Cañuelas S.A., located in Adelia Maria (Córdoba), and in Cañuelas (Buenos Aires). Finally, the wheat flour plant of Molinos Florencia S.A. in Laboulaye (Córdoba) rounds out the top five. Today this situation has changed, since the Cargill wheat milling facilities where sold to Molinos Cañuelas in 2016.
Official information from the FAIM shows the provincial participation in bread wheat milling in 2016, which can be seen in table N ° 3.
Finally, the next table No. 4 shows the export of Argentine wheat flour in 2016.