Having joined the European Union in 2007, Romania has the seventh largest population in the Euro zone with 21.5 million people. However, poultry consumption is just 18 kg per head so there is a real opportunity for the poultry industry to increasingly provide low cost, high protein meat to the Romanian market and beyond.
By Neil Clark , Aviagen, Scotland
Historically, the poultry industry in Romania was under government control. Now, private enterprises are responsible for poultry production in the country and the future is looking bright despite the current economic challenges. Today, Romanian producers are at the cutting edge of industry innovation. The country has embraced the integrated market model. Many producers have control of the entire process from breeding to transport and even retail outlets selling their meat. As in other European countries, the integrated model is paying dividends for Romanian producers.
Professor Ilie Van, President of the Romanian poultry breeders association and the dean of the animal science College of Bucharest, agrees saying: “Romanian industrial poultry farming recovery began 16 years ago, when the main breeders in Romania formed the Union of PoultryBreeders in Romania. In these 16 years the industrial poultry production increased from 90,000 tonnes to 360,000 tonnes, some 400%. In the same period, production capacity has been upgraded and new technology segments have provided a product alignment with EU rules on food safety and the bird’s welfare.”
Domestic production expanded
Romania has become a key market in the central and eastern European region. Last year, Aviagen shipped over one million Ross 308 parent stock birds to Romania for the first time. Only last year, domestic production has expanded by at least 30%. And not only is there a strong internal market, but Romania borders five other countries so there is also the potential for export business. Excellent transport links also mean that Romanian producers can look further afield. According to Professor Ilie Van, in the first months of 2010, Romania’s trade balance on poultry achieved a coverage value of imports for more than 70% of exports, compared with 25% in 2009 and only 8.5% in 2008. Biosecurity and prevention of disease is, understandably, still an important subject in a country that has suffered a lot through Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease in the past. However, modernisation, education and understanding are lowering the risks.
Key role for breeding
Professor Ilie Van recognises the role breeding companies have to play in the development of the industry. He said: “Romanian poultry, has some of the best performance figures in the EU a fact not so well known. We are interested in working with large poultry companies in the European Union recognised worldwide for the value and reliability of biological material.”
Romania is a country which has a lot to be proud of and today, it can rightly shout about the quality of the work undertaken and feel positive about the future of the poultry industry.
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