The Dutch compound feed manufacturer bought Serbian feed maker, Proteinka, in July 2015 – a deal that saw it gain a ruminant and monogastric feed production facility in Sabac in the north-west of Serbia, a favorable location geographically in respect of both the key livestock farming areas in Serbia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia.
Joost Belt, spokesperson for De Heus, told us today:
“The investment in [the Sabac] plant will result in a significant increase in production capacity. We are looking to reach volume output in the region of 120,000 tons per year to support farmers locally and in neighboring markets.
“We are continuously looking at new business opportunities, not only in Serbia, but also in neighboring countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. We have already built successful relationships with farmers there."
Back in 2015, the Dutch compound feed producer stressed the Serbian market consisted of, in the main, small farming operations run as family businesses that had a tendency to rely on home mixes, but the expectation was that these type of livestock farmers would expand production and start to professionalize in the coming years.
The total volume of the feed market in Serbia, according to Alltech's Global Feed Survey 2017, is around 2,9 million metrics tons. Swine production accounts for the biggest percentage of those feed volumes, followed by the dairy segment, then beef production, with the broiler market coming in fourth.
It anticipated the demand for high-quality mixed feeds to support higher efficiency would increase strongly as a result.
De Heus’ strategy for growth in Serbia involved analysis of all the relevant aspects of a local egg, milk or meat producer’s business in order to offer products tailored to an individual farm’s situation.
It also took measures to improve product quality, focusing on feed reformulation, on the selection and safeguarding of raw materials for that market, on quality assurance, and on fine-tuning the production process, said Belt.
Hike in market share
That effort has paid off, he noted, with the Dutch company increasing its market share in each segment since the acquisition of Proteinka (officially brought under the De Heus brand name in Q1 2016):
“The first results of our on-the-farm approach look very promising and we are pleased to conclude that, with this approach, we can contribute to the [development of the] Serbian agriculture sector.”
“We strongly believe that we can support the Serbian farmers to further professionalize their businesses.
“Keeping animals healthy and let them produce optimally, that is our ambition. Therefore, we put a lot of energy into improving the knowledge and experience of our local sales, nutritional and technical employees.”