This is the biggest plant of its kind in Russia, and is likely to be the biggest one in Europe, according to Elena Fastova, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture. The new facility is expected to strengthen the company’s position on the domestic market.
“The state-of-the-art equipment, modern technologies and a broad range of innovative solutions take the turkey meat processing into a new level and, above all, give us an opportunity to manufacture high-quality, safe and fresh products,” Naum Babaev, chairman of the board of Damate outlined, speaking during the opening ceremony.
The new plant is part of a major project Damate has been implementing in Penza Oblast since 2012. In total, the company aimed to invest RUB50bn (US$850m) to establish a full-cycle turkey production complex. The plant is slated to reach full production performance by 2020.
In 2018, Damate was the biggest market player, accounting for 34% sales of turkey on the Russian market, Russian analytical agency Agrifood Strategies estimated. The company was followed by Eurodon and Cherkizovo, with 17% and 15% respectively. Overall production of turkey meat in Russia reached 259,000t last year, said Agrifood Strategies.
“The processing capacity of the new Damate complex exceeds the combined production volume of all other Russian turkey companies taken together,” Albert Davleyev, president of Agrifood Strategies told GlobalMeatNews.
“With a launch of a new Aviagen Turkeys breeder operation in Penza region, which will supply hatching eggs to the company's two hatcheries, with two feed mills, over half a thousand turkey houses and dozens of thousand hectares of own arable lands for feed grains, Damate has a huge potential for further expansion. This will allow the company to strengthen its leadership positions not only in Russia, but also become one of the top European and the world’s turkey producers,” Davleyev said.
It is believed that Damate has chosen the perfect moment to expand. Sales of turkey on the Russian market are set to grow in the next few years. Meanwhile, the second-biggest turkey producer, Eurodon, ceased operating in 2018, and it remains to be seen whether the company will be able to recover. Eurodon earlier declared plans to raise production to around 150,000t per year.
If all goes well, Eurodon could resume operations at the end of 2019, said Konstantin Rachalovsky, local agriculture minister in Rostov Oblast, where the company’s turkey farms are located. It is not clear when the company would be able to restore production completely, he admitted.
Turkey consumption in Russia stands at 1.8kg per capita, revealed Davleyev. This is significantly lower than other countries with a similar meat basket structure, such as Poland, Germany, Spain or Italy, which meant the Russian turkey market had an opportunity to at least double in size, he added.