BluOr Bank has provided financing in the amount of 1.643 million euros to “Karotītes”, the largest organic poultry farm in Latvia and the Baltics, which will be used to expand and modernize the farm. The received funding will help to build a new slaughterhouse on the chicken farm in Tukums Municipality, the construction of which has already begun, as well as to build a modern meat shop and feed preparation facility. The total investment in the farm modernization project is 4.703 million euros, including financial support from the Rural Support Service (LAD) and EU funds, as well as the company’s own funds.
The construction of the new building is planned to be completed by spring 2024, and the installation of equipment by July next year. In the eight years since its foundation, ZS “Karotītes” has become the largest producer of organic poultry meat in the Baltics and offers organic products both under its own and private trademarks. Thanks to its own unique business formula, the farm ensures the cyclical and regular supply of meat products. This, in turn, has made it possible in recent years to start cooperation with leading food supermarket chains and organic food manufacturers. The main customers of ZS “Karotītes” are supermarkets, organic traders, and producers of organic food, including baby food, throughout Europe.
The construction of a new slaughterhouse and meat shop has been started to meet the growing market demand, as well as to create growth capacity in search of new sales markets. The company plans that by the end of this year, the volume of organic poultry meat and chicken meat produced will increase twice compared to 2022. As to the company’s future goals, it aims to strengthen its position in the domestic and Baltic markets for organic meat products, as well as to enter new export markets in Europe.
“Although we currently have no competitors in organic poultry meat sales in Latvian supermarkets, our main future goals include strengthening and increasing the market share of organic meat products, which in Latvia, in comparison with other developed European countries, is still quite small. In Europe, this market share averages 3-4%, while in this country, depending on the segment, it is even half as much. It can be explained by differences in the standard of living and in the level of education in matters of nutrition. Although organic meat and products are undeniably of high quality and even incomparable with conventional produce in terms of taste, nutritional value and texture, organic meat is of course more expensive. The final price is determined by roughly three times the production cycle, the cost of purchasing organic feed and stricter conditions for bird welfare. However, in general, the demand for organically pure and high-quality meat and its products is growing, thus expanding, and modernizing the farm is the only scenario for growth,” says Ričards Kalnciems, the owner of ZS “Karotītes”.
In Latvia, ZS “Karotītes” poultry meat products are currently available in sales outlets of leading Latvian supermarket chains, organic produce stores, as well as in the farm’s online store. The company’s main foreign markets are Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Slovakia, and Denmark. ZS “Karotītes” offers both fresh meat of organically grown chickens and various organic poultry products, including meatballs, dumplings, and sausages.
“The Latvian food market is rich and saturated, so it is a great pleasure to see local producers holding the leading positions. This is a huge contribution to the development of both Latvian regions and national economy. This year, BluOr Bank has allocated more than 150 million euros to the lending program for small and medium-sized enterprises. We are glad to see more and more Latvian food producers among those receiving funding,” notes Dmitrijs Latiševs, BluOr Bank Chief Executive Officer.
The farm breeds a chicken breed from France specially for organic farming, which guarantees a unique texture and taste of the product. “Karotītes” is the only farm in the Baltics that can produce organic chickens for its own needs – the company purchases eggs from another organic farm in Scandinavia, which are delivered to Latvia by special transport and hatch on the farm.
ZS “Karotītes” is a full-cycle farm, which means that it performs most of the processes necessary to ensure its operation on its own. This year, the company has also made significant investments in improving and automating chicken feeding processes – currently up to 95% of chicken feed is prepared on site. Also, in recent years, chicken coops have been modernized and rebuilt, providing automated temperature monitoring, ventilation, feeding and water availability. The company purchases grain and raw materials necessary for feeding from other Latvian organic farms. The company also gives a lot of attention to the provision of a circular economy, including the supply of Latvian farms with a by-product of poultry farming – organic fertilizer.