AFA organized in cooperation with AFA Tunisian member companies the 29th AFA International Fertilizer Technology Conference & Exhibition, in Tunisia, from 11-13 October 2016, in Regency Tunis Hotel. The Conference was honored by the attendance of Her Excellency Hala Sheikh Roho, Minister of Energy, Mines & Renewable Energies. It was further held under the auspices of the following Tunisian companies:
- Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa
- Groupe Chimique Tunisien
- TIFERT Company
The three-day five-session Conference discussed 18 working papers that were selected taking in consideration the coverage of nitrogenous, phosphate and potash fertilizers industries. The papers tackled the following themes:
- Operation, innovation, technology, research and development
- Equipment and maintenance
- Saving energy
- Health, safety and environment
More than three hundred participants joined the Conference from different countries. It is a source of interest for Arab and international companies specialized in fertilizer industry. Notably, key international companies working in the fields of technology, equipment and chemical production were keen on attending such an international event. To illustrate, it is an opportunity to meet with fertilizer industry specialists and recognize latest developments highlighted in the regional working papers, presenting companies’ expertise in environment protection, preventive maintenance and production methods development.
The Conference was accompanied by an industrial exhibition, in which 12 Arab and international companies participated from: Tunisia, KSA, Italy, UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, India, Netherlands, China and Russia. These companies presented the state-of-the-art international technologies in all fertilizer industry sectors as well as technical services and engineering equipment provided in such a field.
On the margins of the Conference, the One Hundred and Six AFA Board meeting was held. Also, other meetings were convened for specialized committees, namely the Economic Committee and Technical Committee as well as the meetings of the working groups concerned with Communication & Public Affairs, Training and Rehabilitation.
The Conference was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Mohammed Abdallah Zain, who started by welcoming Her Excellency Hala Sheikh Roho, Minister of Energy, Mines & Renewable Energies and extending warm greetings to AFA Tunisian member companies for sponsoring the Conference and supporting AFA proceedings. He then commended the distinguished attendants reflecting the significance of Arab fertilizer industry.
Mr. Zain Speech:
“At the outset I would like to welcome all the attendants in the cherished land of Tunisia, home of an ancient civilization as well as generous, authentic and courteous people.
With pleasure, I extend my thanks to the supporting teams from Compagnie des Phosphates de Gafsa, Groupe Chimique Tunisien & TIFERT Company in addition to Mr. Hedhili Kefi for the ongoing promotion of AFA activities and proceedings as well as for hosting and organizing such a Conference.
Our meeting today reflects a collective dedication to continue the development of such a strategic industry. An industry that provides for the best utilization of resources, being indispensable for a sustainable agricultural sector. Therefore, this is an endeavor that highlight fertilizer industry stakeholders’ keenness upon facing the related challenges, with all its positive and negative implications on food security status and energy provision condition, so as to achieve aspired to sustainable development.
We are fully aware of the myriad challenges faced by our member companies, at the top of which the decrease in fertilizers prices internationally, the matter that requires applying significant technical and economic procedures in order to surmount such an adversity. To note, this can also be achieved by increasing profitability through the reduction of production costs, based on the following aspects:
First: Increase in Production Capacity
Companies are encouraged to communicate with one another in order to exchange expertise and information with regard to factories qualification, technological development and production capacity expansion. This can also be fulfilled by raising staff awareness via effective participation in workshops, convened in cooperation with experts from member companies and international think tanks.
Second: Energy Saving
AFA realizes that fertilizer production is an energy-intensive field, as fertilizer production consumes 1.2% of total international energy percentage. Therefore, energy saving is considered one of the significant factors of improving fertilizer factories economies. By doing so, production cost and accordingly product price can decrease, which lead to an increase in profitability, thus enhance factories sustainability.
Third: Sound Operation
Soundness of operation should be taken in consideration to ensure ongoing processes and stable operation indicators. This can be achieved by urging our member companies to improve the work environment, raise staff awareness of using personal protection equipment and apply an effective system for Process Safety Management (PSM); minimizing wasted working hours. It is worth commending in this regard the developed capacities of Arab fertilizer industry leaders, who were capable of surpassing the encountered challenges and thus putting Arab fertilizer industry in an eminent status, hence leading international market in nitrogenous, phosphate and potash fertilizers.
Fourth: Rationalizing Raw Materials
The rationalization of raw materials, production inputs and improving the qualitative consumption of such materials are also considered of the key factors.
Now, allow me to present an overview of AFA most remarkable activities and achievements that were accomplished this year:
First: Training programs and specialized workshops:
“Process and Maintenance Optimization” Workshop, 11-14 April 2016, Aqaba, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The highly experienced companies ThysseenKrupp Industrial Solutions (UHDE) and PRAYON have professionally implemented such workshop program. This Workshop was characterized by the high attendance rate, which exceeded one hundred twenty participants from AFA member companies.
“Process Safety Management” Workshop, 24-26 May 2016, Kuwait
The three-day Workshop program was carried out pinpointing the basics and principles of process safety management. The Workshop program was prepared in cooperation with Petrochemicals Industry Company (PIC), SABIC and DUPONT.
“Energy Saving in Fertilizer Industry” Workshop, 29-31 August 2016, Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco
The Workshop program comprised of distinctive sessions delivered by seven international companies:
- The French DUPONT
- The Belgian PRAYON
- The American JACOB
- The German Thyssenkrupp
- The Dutch Stamicarbon
- The Russian R&D Institute of Urea
- The British Alexander Proudfoot
Second: Working groups:
- Technical Committee Working Groups
1.Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Group
The group activities, this year, included
- Issuing the manual of “HSE Best Practices in AFA Member Companies”;
- Issuing the manual of “Comprehensive Matrix for Regular Maintenance Management Based on HSE Aspects”;
- Issuing Annual HSE Performance Report of Member Companies;
- Organizing a one-day workshop in Egypt to introduce Egyptian companies’ management to corporate responsibility topics.
2.Energy Saving Working Group
The group implemented the following programs during 2016:
- Self-auditing program for energy saving management;
- Issuing Energy Culture Booklet in English and Arabic;
- Preparing databases of energy saving projects in member companies;
- Issuing group achievements booklet.
3.Maintenance and Operations Working Group
4.Qualification and Training Working Group
- This group started working during the second half of this year.
- Secretariat Working Group
Communication and Media Working Group:
- Issuing Manual of Company Identity Guidelines;
- Preparing a media and journalism database in Arab countries;
- Organizing a training program on social communication skills;
- Issuing group achievements booklet.
- Economic Committee Working Group
Agricultural Working Group
The group most significant achievements during this year are as follows:
- Issuing a manual on the Four Rights (4Rs) (Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place);
- Convening workshop on fertilizer awareness and soil analysis as well as participating in Morocco agricultural caravans;
- Preparing database for agricultural research center in the Arab region.
With this in mind, AFA has in cooperation with member companies succeeded in transferring Morocco leading and successful caravan experience to other countries in the Arab region. Notably, AFA has successfully applied the first agricultural caravan in Egypt during April of this year.
In addition, based on efforts exerted by SABIC and approval provided by Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, AFA is contributing in four agricultural caravans of dates and palms, namely Riyadh Caravan then Ihsaa, Qasim and Madina Caravans.
Furthermore, there is another caravan that will be launched in Oman. It is noteworthy that Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO) has been striving to receive an approval from His Excellency Oman Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries in order to launch the caravan. Accordingly, the caravan place, time and type of crop were identified and the caravan implementation team was formed.
We are also in the process of preparing other caravans, perhaps in Tunisia for example that will be followed by other Arab countries.
In conclusion, I would like to express deep gratitude to Her Excellency Minister of Energy and Mines Hala Cheikhrouhou for her honorable attendance to and hosting of such a Conference. I would also like to extend all appreciation to Gafsa Phosphates Company and Tunisian Chemical Group, and particularly to Mr. Ramadan Saweed, Mr. Hudaily Kafy, Mr. Hady Fakhakh and the assisting team for their distinctive support, organization and hospitality, all of which will effectively contribute to the success of such a significant international technical event.
All thanks also to AFA Board Chairman Dr. AbdulRahman Jawahery, distinguished AFA Board members and to all the attendants for their enhancement to the common technical Arab work.
Wishing all success to our gathering, industry and Arab region at large and to fulfill our specified noble goals.
Papers and materials: