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Russian turkey production shows record growth rate

After growth temporarily slowed down in 2019, Russian turkey producers showed a record 20% production increase in 2020, research showed.

The research, conducted by Russian consulting agency Agrifood Strategies, showed that turkey meat production, export, and consumption are increasing against the backdrop of the continuing decline in imports, even despite the difficult economic situation and quarantine restrictions. In 2020, turkey meat production in Russia totalled almost 330,000 tonnes, 20.7% more than in 2019. The toral revenue of commercial turkey growers exceeded 50 billion Roubles (US$ 700 million), Agrifood Strategies estimated.

In 2020, the amount of turkey meat produced in Russia was 20.7% higher than in 2019. Photo: Koos Groenewold
In 2020, the amount of turkey meat produced in Russia was 20.7% higher than in 2019. Photo: Koos Groenewold

The large industry leaders were responsible for most of the growth, yet the positive dynamics were seen across the board. In 2020, Damate Group was the biggest turkey company in Russia, with a production volume of 151,200 tonnes of turkey meat. The company was able to significantly increase production by further vertical integration and by leasing and restoring the former Evrodon facility – the Ursdon breeding complex with a capacity of 9 million hatching eggs per year.

By launching the second stage of grow out farms and the modernisation of its processing complex Tambov Turkeys, Cherkizovo Group managed to increase its output by a quarter – from 39,410 to 49,000 tonnes. By doing so, Cherkizovo maintains the second position in the list of the largest Russian turkey producers, Agrifood Strategies estimated.

Foreign trade

Russian turkey meat imports were gradually declining to zero: last year they fell by more than 1½ times – from 4,700 tonnes to 3,100 tonnes (preliminary data), while the share of imports was less than 1% of the total consumption, Agrifood Strategies said. The main cause is a more than a 30% increase in the cost of imported turkey meat due to the national currency depreciation.

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At the same time, exports grew significantly. In 2020 Russia became the third-largest supplier of turkey meat to China with a market share of more than 8%, overtaken only by the U.S. and Chile, Agrifood Strategies reported. In addition to the explosive growth of shipments to China, low value turkey products, like drumsticks, wings, and feet, found their way to Africa and the CIS markets. Premium Russian turkey breast meat and boneless thighs are becoming more competitive, especially in the Middle East. In the second half of 2020, export was boosted by the opening of new logistic routes to Asia – by rail and sea through the eastern land borders and port of Vladivostok and the port of Novorossiysk in the Black Sea. This made it possible to reduce the cargo delivery time from 40-55 days from St. Petersburg port to 14-35 days, depending on the destination.

All in all, Russia’s turkey exports almost tripled last year to just under 10,000, according to preliminary estimations of 3,508 tonnes in 2019, while their value increased from US$ 6.5 million to almost US$ 15 million. The main export destinations were China, Eastern Ukraine, Benin, Liberia, Armenia, and the UAE.