“We do not have enough pigs in Serbia, but with their technology, we will have a sufficient livestock, and we will be able to develop our slaughtering sector,” Serbian Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Branislav Nedimović told local radio broadcaster B92.
Land for pig farms
Nedimović said that Tönnies has applied to lease the land plots for a period of 30 years from the state authorities. According to the minister, the German company is particularly interested in acquiring land in the municipalities of Kikinda and Zrenjanin, both located in Serbia’s northern Vojvodina region.
One of the expected outcomes of the planned investments is the development of Serbia’s pig breeding sector, according to the minister. Nedimović told local journalists that the results of the public calls are to be released shortly. Some of the criteria that will be taken under consideration comprise the number of jobs that are to be created, the expected value of export sales, as well as the projects’ contribution to the development of local communities throughout the countries, according to the minister.
It is also noteworthy that Serbia, which remains a potential candidate for EU membership, has benefitted from Russia’s ban on EU pigs and pork meat that was imposed by Moscow in 2014.
Nedimović recognised that about 14 tonnes of meat intended for the Russian market were recently returned to Serbia, but that this was due to a mistake made by the Serbian meat exporter.
“Everything is in order … and in the first five months of 2017, exports [to Russia] were up,” the minister said.
The latest move follows a memorandum of understanding signed by Tönnies and the Serbian government in 2015, and a new agreement inked last year under which the German company declared a €300m investment plan in the country’s pig breeding and meat sectors. According to earlier announcements, the company’s pig farms in Serbia are to have as many as three million head. Tönnies processes more than 17m pigs and about 40,000 cattle per year, as indicated by senior Serbian officials.
Set up in 1971 as a family-owned business, Tönnies is headquartered in Rheda- Wiedenbrück, in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state. The company says its core activities comprise slaughtering, butchering and processing of pigs, sows and beef cattle. In addition to this, Tönnies is also active in the field of ingredients and logistics. The German business sells its products under a number of brands, including Tillman’s and Toast Me! Tönnies has a wide range of pre-packed fresh meat, cured pork products, sausages, and boiled ham in its product portfolio.
The company owns subsidiaries in 25 countries worldwide, and employs a workforce of about 10,000 at eight facilities in Germany, and one in Denmark, according to data from Tönnies. About 50% of the firm’s sales are generated by exports. Tönnies says its facilities are HACCP-, IFS- and BRC-certified.