Last summer, USSEC returned its attention to the Greek feed and poultry industries, reinforced by the solid growth of those sectors that has been noticed in neighboring countries Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania.
In an effort to increase awareness of U.S. Soy, Dr. Jan van Eys, USSEC Animal Nutrition Consultant, and Dr. Iani Chihaia, USSEC Southeast Europe Regional Consultant, visited during the first week of June with representatives of the Greek Feed Manufacturers Association (SEVIZ), integrated feed millers, and soy crushers with the goal to evaluate the current status of the industries and understand how U.S. Soy should regain market share.
One of the positive findings for the USSEC consultants during the meetings with the feed and crushing industry representatives from Greece was learning that U.S. Soy benefits from a very positive image and perception thanks to the programs developed in the past by the U.S. Soy organizations. In this regard, USSEC should primarily secure future opportunities in this market and maintain this positive image.
Currently, Greece’s total compound feed production is estimated at 1,500,000 tons per year. Poultry and ruminant feeds share 40 percent (each) from the total production, while fish feed production volumes reach over 200,000 tons annually. Even if it is a small market, Greece offers a good potential for the export of U.S. Soy products, contributing to the sub regional soy consumption in the Greater Europe region.
As anywhere in the world, feed prices are crucial in the profitability and competitiveness of the Greek livestock industries. Because raw materials in Greece are the most expensive in the E.U., the profitability of both feed and livestock industries are affected. According to recent industry reports, the broiler feed prices in Greece are the highest in Europe, while the pig feed prices in Greece rank the second most expensive and the ruminant feed prices are the third highest. Use of high quality protein ingredients and differentiating between origins are among the key possibilities in improving efficiency when raw materials costs are higher in a certain market. This is an area where U.S. Soy should help while possibly reconquering the lost markets of soy imports from other origins.
Greece is an importer of poultry and pig meat (25 percent of chicken meat is imported and 75 percent of pig meat is imported) and this encouraged Greek business people to invest especially in the poultry business significantly for the few past years to improve production, reduce costs, and improve production indicators and to create new, innovative, and safe meat products. The competitive profile of the Greek poultry and pig industries can be improved through an increase in production and by reducing the overall production costs.
The oilseeds crushing industry is controlled by local investors. Plants are located near and benefit from direct access to deep sea ports, which is a strength for the soy business. Crushers met during the visit invocated the constructive interaction and support their companies has received in the past from the regional as well as central office of the American Soybean Association (ASA). They are looking forward to renewing this tradition and participating in any new actions carried out by USSEC in Europe. Following up and utilizing the present status of the Greek feed, poultry, and crushing industries will enhance USSEC’s general image and offers the potential to increase U.S. Soy's market share in the region.