Poland biggest EU poultry producer with Dutch technologies

Poland is Europe’s biggest producer and exporter of poultry products. Due to a lack of room and expansion opportunities in North-West Europe, growth within the poultry sector is expected to happen mainly in Eastern Europe. Poland’s poultry export are expected to rise overall with 8% in 2019 compared to 2018. Exports from the Netherlands regarding different types of technologies and machineries within the poultry sector makes this beneficial as well to the economy of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the world leader in incubators, egg grading machines, slaughtering solutions and integrated housing.

The European Union (EU) produced 15.2 million tonnes of poultry meat in 2018, a new high. This represents a cumulative rise of about one quarter or 3.2 million tonnes since 2010. In 2018, about 70 % of the EU production of poultry meat came from just six Member States: Poland (16.8 %), the United Kingdom (12.9 %), France (11.4 %), Spain (10.7 %), Germany (10.4 %) and Italy (8.5 %).

Poland EU's biggest poultry producer

Poland is Europe’s biggest producer and exporter of poultry products. Poland has seen major growth in production. According to statistics Poland, the country raised more than a billion chickens for meat last year, which is 10 times more than in 2009. In the first half of 2019, the Polish poultry market grew with 4 percent. This is relatively low compared to other years, especially since 2 new poultry processing plants opened up in Poland this year. This slow-down of growth is mainly due to an increased availability of poultry meat on the EU market, which had a negative impact on prices. Due to a lack of room and expansion opportunities in North-West Europe, growth within the poultry sector is expected to happen mainly in Eastern Europe. There are plans for at least 5 new slaughterhouses to be opened up within the next 1-2 years in Eastern Europe. This growth of production in Poland and Eastern Europe has been noticeable on the European poultry market. New Polish poultry processing plants are delivering fresh poultry meat to buyers who originally purchased from West-European poultry plants (Klein-Swormink, 2019).

From January until August this year, Poland exported 1,145 million tonnes of poultry products an increase of 11% compared to the same period in 2018. Of these exports, poultry products going to EU-countries saw a rise of 6%, to a total of 860.000 tonnes. Within the EU, most poultry exports went to Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France. In 2017, approximately 7,1% Polish poultry exports went to the Netherlands and had an export value of 141 million US dollars. While the import value of Dutch poultry meat to Poland was 78% lower with 29,7 million US dollars (OEC, 2017). Exports to non EU-countries rose with 27% to a total of 286.000 tonnes. Poland’s biggest markets for poultry exports outside the EU were Ukraine, South Africa and Hong Kong.

According to the Institute of Agricultural and Food Economics, Poland’s poultry export are expected to rise overall with 8% in 2019 compared to 2018. This growth is mainly due to the price advantage of Polish chicken and the development of non-EU markets.

From January until September 2019, factory farms employing more than 50 workers produced 2% more poultry than the year before and reached a total of 2,44 million tonnes of poultry meat. A major growth was also seen in the hatchlings sector. The hatchlings sector grew with 9% compared to the same period in 2018.

The leading producer of poultry and livestock in Poland is the Cedrob group. The Cedrob group is involved in the entire production chain. The group includes parent stocks, hatcheries, feed mills, breeding farms, slaughterhouses, shops and a wholesaler of fuel (WATTAgNet, 2016). Cedrob has a capacity of 150 million broilers and 900.000 geese per year. Additionally, they are hatching 160 million eggs and producing 720.000 tonnes of feed per year (Nijhuis, 2016).

EU imports

In 2018, poultry imports from Thailand, Brazil and Ukraine combined were 737.391 tonnes and accounted for 90,7% of the EU’s poultry imports (European Comission, 2019). Also Brasil poultry will graduately find its way back to the EU market. Because of these imports into the European poultry market, the prices of chicken plundered. As a result, poultry imports went down and poultry meat producers in the EU slowed down production. At the beginning of 2019, prices of poultry meat stopped falling and started to rise slowly (Klein-Swormink, 2019).

Export from the Netherlands to Poland: machinery & technology

Although Poland exports more poultry meat and products to the Netherlands than the other way around, other exports regarding different types of technologies and machineries within the poultry sector makes this beneficial as well to the economy of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the world leader in incubators, egg grading machines, slaughtering solutions and integrated housing. The Netherlands has a market share of approximately 75% of technology within the poultry industry, which is worth around 2,1 billion euros. Poultry technology exports from the Netherlands are worth 1,6 billion annually. The poultry technology sector provides employment for 3000 to 4000 full-time employees in the Netherlands (Dutch Poultry Centre, 2016).  

Dutch processing lines

The Netherlands is a large exporter of technology and machinery within the poultry sector. In 2017, 14% of machinery for the preparation of meat and poultry imports to Poland came from the Netherlands. These imports from the Netherlands had a value of 7,77 million USD. The world market of exports of meat and poultry preparation machinery was worth 2,11 billion USD. The Netherlands is the second biggest exporter of such machinery (behind Germany) with a 20% share of the world market, which is worth 419 million USD (OEC, 2017).

For example, all primary and secondary equipment in Cedrob’s processing plant in Ujazdowek is delivered by meat processing systems producer, Marel. Even though Marel is an Icelandic company, it produces largely in the Netherlands. Almost one-third of Marel’s 6000 employees works in the Netherlands, as many of them used to work for Stork. In 2015, Marel took over Stork’s Poultry & Food processing and later Meat Processing production sections. Chicken processing lines are worth approxiamently half of Marel’s revenue, which was 1,2 billion in 2018. Marel has a factory in Dongen and in Boxmeer, where they produce poultry, meat and further processing lines. Marel Poultry has an office in Warsaw and offers technical support to its Polish customers out of Boxmeer, as this is where the poultry processing lines are mainly produced (van Barschot, 2019).

Another major Dutch poultry processing line producer is Meyn. Meyn has over a thousand employees and has 14 sales offices, of which one is located in the Polish Lebork. Meyn has delivered and installed a complete wall to wall plant adjacent to the Polish Wipasz factory. This deal was among the most valuable to be initiated within the European poultry processing sector that year. Meyn was later taken over by an American cooperation, however, Meyn’s head office is still located in the Netherlands (Meyn, n.d.).

The Netherlands’ biggest poultry processor, Plukon is also active in Poland. Plukon has 11 poultry slaughterhouses, of which one is in Poland. Together with the Wyrebski family, Plukon has built a slaughterhouse in the Polish Wroblew. Plukon is owner of 60% of the plant’s shares. The slaughterhouse has a capacity of 25.000 tonnes a year (meat&co, 2018).

Dutch hatchery & other technologies

In 2017, 21% of Polish poultry incubators and brooders imports were from the Netherlands. These imports had a value of 239.000 USD (OEC, 2017). The Netherlands is the second-biggest exporter of poultry incubators and brooders (after Belgium-Luxembourg) and it exports of had a value of 46,8 million USD in 2017, which is 15% of the world market (OEC, 2017).

The Dutch influence within Polish poultry companies can also be seen in other types of technologies and machinery. In 2017, Poland imported 5,06 million USD worth of poultry-keeping machinery from the Netherlands, which is 19% of their imports in this market (OEC, 2017). An example of other technologies is Nijhuis industries that has delivered wastewater solutions, in the form of a water waste treatment plant and biogas installation to a slaughterhouse of the earlier mentioned Cedrob.