International Conference “Starch and Starch Products: A Market for Opportunities”
Prospects for starch production in Russia is one of the topical issues for the potato industry, which has been looking for ways to overcome the overproduction crisis for several years. That is why the editors of the "Potato System" magazine could not ignore the international conference "Starch and starch products: a market of opportunities", despite the fact that the event was devoted not only to potato starch.
The conference took place on April 13 in Moscow, in the building of the RF Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The meeting was organized by the Association of Russian manufacturers of starch products. More than 60 large companies engaged in the production, marketing and consumption of starch products became the participants of the forum. The conference was attended by over 110 guests.
Oleg Radin, executive director of ARPKPP, gave a general description of the state of the Russian starch industry at the conference. According to him, at the moment in Russia there are about 30 factories for the production of starch products. Almost all of them are concentrated in the Central region, the Volga region and in the south of the country - that is, in those areas where the main volumes of raw materials are grown. 90% of all production is produced by 10 key factories.
Enterprises operate in a highly competitive environment, dividing the domestic market among themselves. And in the future, the situation can only worsen, as new plants are being built in the country. The development of the export direction is still going with great difficulties: no more than 2% of the total volume of production is sent abroad (mainly to the CIS countries) (mainly corn starch and starch syrup). And yet, according to the expert, the future of the industry must be connected precisely with the export direction.
During the conference, the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, Director of the Department of Food and Processing Industry Evgeny Akhpashev expressed great interest in the development of starch and syrup production. He noted that the main raw materials for the production of starch are corn, wheat and potatoes - crops whose producers have been receiving record yields for several years and suffering from sales problems. The development of the direction of deep processing could remove the urgency of these issues, but it is necessary to establish the production of modified starches, a significant part of which Russia today imports.
The performances of James Fortescue, Executive Director of Starch Europe (EC) and Simon Bantley, Executive Director of Commoditia (Singapore), were very informative for the Russian audience. The report of the first expert was devoted to the analysis of the market for starch products in Europe. Based on his data (2015), it can be concluded that in the EU countries they do not refuse potato starch. About 29,8% of the raw materials used for the production of starch products are potatoes.
In the total volume of output, the share of potato starch is 13,3%.
Simon Bantley talked about the features of the Asian market, focusing on the production of cassava starch.
The speeches of representatives of science were no less relevant. Vladimir Litvyak, Chief Researcher of the RUE "Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for Food", described in detail the technology for the production of cationic starches - the development of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
Vasily Taranov, Head of the Plant Stress Resistance Laboratory, Federal State Budgetary Institution of Higher VNIISB, presented genomic editing technologies for obtaining plants with altered properties. Speech by V.V. Taranova seemed especially interesting to us, since the scientist talked about experiments that are conducted on potatoes: the technology involves making point changes in the sequence of genes, as a result of which, for example, chip varieties appear in the tubers of which, at a low storage temperature, no reducing sugars accumulate. According to the head of the laboratory of the Federal State Budgetary Institution of Higher VNIISB, in this case we are not talking about the production of genetically modified varieties: scientists allow only those changes that can occur with a plant in the natural environment.
During the conference, much attention was paid to the speeches of representatives of enterprises that actively use starch products for the production of their products.
So, the chairman of the board of the Union of Food Ingredients Manufacturers Sergey Kraus shared with the audience information that about 68 food additives can be produced on the basis of starch products, and therefore the need for native and modified starches in this industry is very high.
In general, the conference participants concluded that the starch products market in Russia has great potential for growth, and each manufacturer can find its own niche in it - there were a lot of ideas and proposals for this during the forum. And it will be possible to discuss the first results by meeting again in a circle of like-minded people. The Association of Russian manufacturers of starch products is considering the possibility of making the professional forum an annual event.