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Latvian poultry production spreading it wings

Latvian poultry processor, Kekava is planning to increase exports by nearly 10% every year within the coming several years. The main focus will be put on neighbouring countries in the European Union (EU), including Lithuania, Estonia as well as Scandinavian states.

“Despite the fact that the European market is experiencing oversupply of chicken meat, Kekava continues to increase exports every year,” the chairman of the board, Andrius Prankyavichus stated at a recent press conference.

Increased poultry production capacity

According to him, the overall growth of production capacity in 2016 is expected to be close to 10% compared to 2015. Since the beginning of the year, the company already invested €7.4 million in the modernisation of facilities and the opening of new production lines.

Last year, Kekava already spent about €11 million on modernising its facilities, while in the second half of 2016 and the first months of 2017 another €6 million expansion investment is planned.

New product lines

These investments may turn out to be very important, since they involve opening of several new lines of products designed for the Lithuanian and Scandinavian markets developed this year, Avota Maya, the company’s marketing director explained.

“We have established a new export brand ‘Top Choice Poultry’ designed for the catering segment. The first two cargo volumes of chilled meat amounting to a few tonnes each has already been sent to Sweden. In the coming year we are also aiming to manufacture finished meat products for this market as well, such as smoked sausages,” he explained.  In addition, this year the company has established another brand ‘Kekava Grill’ which involves four types of marinated meat. It is believed that this is also partly destined for export.

Potential poultry exports to China

Kekava is also pushing to get approval for exports of poultry production to China. In 2015, the company applied for certification, but according to company representatives with the current volume of production Kekava is not very interesting to Chinese market participants, as they generally purchase large shipments of meat.

At the moment, Kekava is exporting nearly 28% of overall volume of production, and is aiming to bring this figure up to 40% within the next couple of years. The company produces nearly 20,000 tonnes of poultry per year, in accordance to official company’s information.

Domestic market position

In addition to export development Prankyavichus also believes that the company will continue to keep a strong position in the domestic market. Producing 240 types of products, the company accounts for 65% of Latvian poultry production. According to Prankyavichus, Latvian standards for chicken production are growing almost every year, resulting in the rising confidence of citizens about the quality of domestically-made poultry.

“Recent studies indicated that for 76% of Latvian citizens it is important that the poultry they are buying is produced in the country,” Prankyavichus concluded.

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