USSEC organized its 5th Regional Soybean Processing and Refining Conference, held at Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 24 to 27. 100 participants from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Russia attended this workshop, including major crushers and vegetable oil refineries from these regions.
U.S. soy grower leaders Lewis Bainbridge, United Soybean Board (USB) director and past chairman; Stan Born, USSEC and American Soybean Association (ASA) director; Rob Schaffer, ASA director; and Keith Tapp, USB chairman also traveled to Dubai to participate in this conference.
Speakers included Alex Slichter, Regional Sales & Business Development Manager, Crown Americas – Crown Iron Works; Anibal Demarco, Crushing Product Specialist - Global Technical Support, Desmet Ballestra; Paul Smith, Crown Europe Sales and Marketing Director - Crown Iron Works; Brent German, Soy Processing Consultant, Blind Corner Solutions; Darren Litle, Director of Technical Sales, Arisdyne Systems Inc; Enrique Diaz, Account Manager, Anderson International Corp; Francisco Belden F., Director de Abastecimientos, RAGASA; Alan Paine, Product Manager - Refining, Desmet Ballestra; Frank J. Flider, Edible Oils Consultant, QUALISOY; and Sadru Dada, Intl Agribusiness Technical Consultant.
“High oleic soybean oil and its benefits were introduced to attendees and several crushers and refiners in attendance expressed keen interest in the availability of commercial quantities of high oleic soybean oil, as well as high oleic soybeans for crush,” says Mr. Flider. “Attendees indicated that high oleic soybean oil would enable them to compete more effectively against locally produced sunflower oil in markets requiring higher stability. The MENA region represents one of several potentially significant world markets for high oleic soybeans and oil.”
“The conference gave people from different parts of the soybean industry an opportunity to discover what each other is doing, make new contacts, and renew old friendships,” states Mr. Paine. “Working for an equipment supplier, I have become used to the ever increasing demand in the oil and seed processing sector for greater efficiency by using more sophisticated technologies. Energy usage and other operating costs are continually falling while oil yield is rising in factories that are hardly recognizable compared with those of a few decades ago.
“But processing isn’t the only thing that has changed over the years. The conference started with an atmospheric video showing family life on an Illinois soybean farm at harvest time. All very nice, we thought, but the presentations at the meeting showed that behind these happy rural scenes is a level of science and technology, which was unimaginable not long ago. Soil is preserved by placing the seeds directly into the untilled ground; tractors repeatedly follow exactly the same track through the fields guided by GPS and new varieties of beans can offer a more stable and versatile oil.
“At the other end of the line, we heard about the marketing of oil and meal and developments in biodiesel, including government policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Vegetable oil sometimes seems like a very conservative industry but step-by-step we are continuing to learn new things and find out how to deal with new challenges.”