“We prevented thousands of tons of grain from being wasted”

“Grains stored for a long time can decay. You can only detect the decay, disease or infestation in mass only through temperature increase. We produce electronic systems capable of detecting such escalation in the grain warehouses. These systems known as silo temperature tracking or monitoring or temperature control systems give early warning about heat in warehouses/silos to prevent large-scale waste. These systems are one of the integral parts of the grain storage. Thanks to the grain cooler machines that we sold or rented since then, we prevented thousands of tons of grain from being wasted.”

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It is a major global challenge to meet the food demand of increasing population. Within this perspective, the reduction of post-harvest loss provides a sustainable solution to increase the access to food. The grain is a basic food for many developing countries and faces the biggest losses among all agricultural products. During storage, up to 50-60 percent of grain can be wasted. Therefore, the reduction of waste is critically important. We talked with Ferhan Can, the General Manager of FMS Global Engineering, about this critical issue. FMS develops solutions for stored grain to protect it against threats like insects, mold, and fungi. Telling the latest technological developments on the temperature control systems to the Miller, Can said, “In the present case, we do not have the luxury to waste even a handful of wheat. If we can show the same importance to storage as we show to the production, this would prove huge benefits to the country’s economy.” The following is the interview with Ferhan Can, the General Manager of FMS Global Engineering.

Mr. Ferhan, can you briefly talk about FMS Global and its field of activity?
FMS Global Engineering Co. Ltd. is the establishment of Infotech Group and provides the production, supply, and distribution of many types in the agricultural technology and grain storage; it is young and dynamic, and with its innovative ideas, it delivers particularly intensive solutions to prevent the grain waste in Turkey and the world. Founded as a result of nearly 25 years of experience of Infotech Group, FMS Global is designed to deliver service to Turkey, the Arabic world, the Middle East, Turkic countries and Africa.

While the world population increases rapidly, the importance of wheat – one of the basic food sources – increases. The study of productivity gains importance day-by-day. What type of works should be carried out to prevent waste during storage?
Wheat silo, pit or clump left their places to modern silo grain storage systems. The modern storage with steel-silo systems enables operations such as the grain loading, unloading, transfer, and deliver to be carried out more rapidly and effectively with a single button. Not only wheat but also nearly all grains are stored at steel-silos. In recent years, Turkish producers gained popularity because of the production of quality steel and quick service and began to have a say in this sector. Although it is not very general as steel silos, the large-capacity modern vertical warehouses coupled with automation can store grains.

In order to prevent grains from being harmed, there are couples of techniques. Can you talk about the Grain Temperature Control System that your company employs?
Grains require continuous control whether you preserve it at vertical or horizontal warehouses. Grains stored in these huge structures that can hold thousands of tons (about 500 to 10,000) every year can sometimes wait for a month, sometimes for 3-4 months, and for longer periods sometimes. Grains stored for a long time can decay. You can only detect the decay, disease or infestation in mass only through temperature increase. We produce electronic systems capable of detecting such escalation in the grain warehouses. These systems known as silo temperature tracking or monitoring or temperature control systems give early warning about heat in warehouses/silos to prevent large-scale waste. These systems are one of the integral parts of the grain storage. We as a company aimed to produce with better quality and better price and provide a five-year guarantee so that users can enjoy and benefit from these products without worry.

Can you explain the working principles of this system in brief?
Our probes are a kind of grain thermometer. To clarify for our readers, let me give an example. Let’s say that our probe is a straw while an empty jar is an empty silo. We can put the straw in the middle of the lid of the jar after making a hole. There are digital temperature sensors at regular intervals at this straw (probe). If we imagine that we fill that jar (silo) with grain, we can track the heat of grain whenever it contacts with the straw. Just like straw, our probes are installed by suspending it from top to the bottom. When we fill this silo with grain, the probe measures online the heat of grain the probe contacted. When you look at the bird’s-eye view and consider the probe as the center, the effective measurement area has five-six meter radius. Upon this measure, as the radius of silo gets increased, the number of the probe being used will increase. Data gathered from each sensor appear on a user’s mobile phone or tablet computer and the user can take measures to store safely in accordance with this data.

For grain cooler, you are cooperating with German FigorTec. Can you talk about this partnership?
As you know, the first thing a doctor does when you go to him is to diagnose and proceed to the treatment; after diagnosis with the temperature tracking system, the grain cooler units of Frigortec provides treatment. The other name of this equipment that provides definitive treatment and results in a real sense is grain conditioner. Regardless of outside temperature or moisture, this equipment can work at any conditions and under any circumstances and can supply cool air at desired centigrade and air at desired moisture level; once you set the grain temperature at +13 centigrade, it means that your products are safe from any risks (like insects, mold, and fungi). When you have +13 centigrade in your silo homogenously, it means that there would be escalation for two-three months. Since Frigortec’s grain cooler devices minimize risks in the grain storage, keep your grain at desired moisture, eliminate the necessity for disinfection, provide the easiness to store grain with high-moisture level, many companies prefer Frigortec. With its 50-year of history, Frigortec is the leading company in its area of expertise. We have a partnership with Frigortec since 2013 and brought the first device to Turkey in 2014. Thanks to machines that we sold or rented since then, we prevented thousands of tons of grain from being wasted. We will continue to do so.

Is there any innovation that you, as a company, brought to the grain storage?
We have a new project that we developed and put on the market. We developed a device to measure the grain level and amount in a silo. This project was realized with the German-Turkish partnership. In brief, a device that we put on the roof of silo scans the surface of grain online and calculates the average level and provides approximate tonnage information with hectoliter of product. With this innovation, a user knows how much product is reduced from or added to his/her silo instantly. At grain warehousing, it is very important to know how much grain you have.

Can you evaluate the impact of losses on the economy because of the fact that the crops obtained with great labor are not well protected?
The state has given great importance in this area in recent years through incentives on storage, new steps like licensed warehousing and agricultural supports. One of the most important reasons for these efforts is that you can lose the product very easily despite great labor to produce it. The waste amount of our country is equal to or more when compared to the total production of the grain of some small countries. If we shoe the same level of importance to the warehousing just like we show to the production, this measure would provide incredible benefits to the economy. Briefly, in the present case, we do not have the luxury to waste even a handful of wheat. I believe that the licensed warehousing would be very beneficial to our country.

Can you tell us about your plans and expectations for years to come?
Our farmers are faithful, self-sacrificing, and satisfied but they are also conservative. They are a bit closed to innovations. I believe our farmers need guidance. In a sense that the relevant bodies of the government should determine how much grain would be planted and how and in which region it should be planted. We need to learn how to get efficiency. Since we do not employ science, we are unable to get the efficiency in any agricultural area. In fact, smaller countries learned this.

I hope that the state through established/to be established commissions, cooperatives or chambers can make plans for longer terms and designate which region would plant what and how. In doing so, the state should affect farmers in every village and arable field. As you know, this is the age of informatics. It is very easy to get in touch and provide direction to the mass. The basis for this can be arranged, and if we have a planned agriculture, the efficiency of production, I believe, will increase. On the other hand, if companies like us can develop technologies to reduce the grain waste and can generalize this, Turkey can be a leading country in the export of grain and storage systems instead of being importing product and technology in both grain production and storage.

Mr. Ferhan, you are also a founding member of the Association of Cereal and Pulses Processing Technologies, Storage and Analysis Systems (TABADER). Can you brief us about the activities of your association?
This association was founded with a target to bring together all parties which produce, store grain and pulses and also make research and studies. It supported communication and interaction by providing bridge between relevant institutions and organizations that try to ensure the effective use of science and technology in this sector, the association was founded on the principle of “union is strength.” The association is not association of particular group, body or political view. The association includes people who make great efforts and believe in this sector and are open to innovation, training and learning.

With TABADER Doyens gathering in 2017, we brought all sector’s doyens who worked in the sector for over 50 years. That night was spectacular. Our hall in Ankara was filled with people who came on wheel chairs, with walking sticks or thanks to the help of their children or grandchildren. We honored those who passed away and presented plaque to all doyens; it was an emotional night.

Of course, after all positive feedbacks and appreciation, we understood that we need to traditionalize this event and would hold the doyens’ gathering this December.

We will present awards in TABADER DOYENS’ GATHERING to be held in Ankara in following areas: Doyens Half-a-Century in the Sector, Those Who Left Us, Those Who Contributed to the Development of the Sector and Those Who Brought Value to the Sector, Young TABADER, and the Organization of the Year. Readers can find more detailed information at our website: www.tabader.org.

We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "Spanish Balaguer seeks for expansion in Turkey and India".

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