“We have obtained plenty of enquiries from Chinese customers; they have shown a major interest,” Dorde Kuzminac, director of IM Djurdjevic, told local daily Danas.
Exports to new markets
Kuzminac said that, while other types of meat such as pork meat remain the company’s priority, IM Djurdjevic hopes to significantly develop its presence in the Chinese market. The meat producer already exports a share of its output to the neighbouring Balkan states, Italy and Russia, according to the company’s director.
“I’m certain that Serbia would be able to export 80,000 lambs at this moment; [the Chinese] have the capacity [to accept such imports],” Kuzminac said.
As Serbia’s leading meat industry player, IM Djurdjevic has obtained permission to export lambs to China. The company is also the country’s second-largest pig meat producer, and has a pig slaughtering capacity of 1,000 head per day, as well as a daily heifer slaughtering capacity of 150 head. IM Djurdjevic operates a meat processing facility with a capacity for some 30 tonnes of meat per day. The firm said its facilities, fitted with a total surface of some 15,000 square metres, are ISO 9001- and HACCP-certified.
Set up in 1999, the meat company is based in Pećinci, in Serbia’s northern region. Some of the firm’s processed pork, poultry and beef meat products include sausages, hams, breasts and others. IM Djurdjevic is also a certified producer of halal meat. As much as 95% of the company’s domestic sales are carried out through supermarket chains, while the remaining 5% of its meat products are sold through IM Djurdjevic’s own retail outlets.
The meat producer did not disclose the value of the export deal, but its director said that lamb was the most expensive type of meat in the company’s product range, with a price of about (Serbian dinar) RSD270 (€2.26) to RSD280 (€2.34) per kg without the value-added tax (VAT), which does not apply to export sales.
Serbian consumers turn to pork meat
According to Kuzminac, Serbia’s meat market will not be affected by the increased lamb and beef export sales, as local consumers are mostly turning to pork meat.
This said, the country’s breeders have reported decreased livestock numbers for last year, according to data released by the country’s state-run statistics agency RZS.
As of December 2016, Serbia’s sheep livestock was about 1.66 million head, down 6.9% compared with the same month a year earlier. The country’s pig livestock stood at about 3.02m head, a decrease of 8% year-on-year, and Serbian cattle breeders reported a livestock of some 893,000 head, a decrease of 2.5% compared with the same month in 2015, according to figures from the statistics agency.