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Setting the Pace in the World’s Fastest Growing Market

by 5m Editor
1 November 2011, at 12:00am

A bright future is predicted for the Argentine poultry industry by Nan-Dirk Mulder, associate director of Rabobank International. It is the fastest growing poultry industry in the world, according to Mr Mulder, speaking at the Cobb Europe GP technical seminar in Berlin, favoured by local supply of grain and oilseeds, a stable business climate and low production costs. “Argentina produces chicken meat at a lower cost than Brazil and is becoming a serious alternative to Brazil for importers,” he told the latest issue of Cobb Focus.

The 30th anniversary next year of Cobb's oldest joint venture - Reproductores Cobb in Argentina - will turn the spotlight on the remarkable success story of an Italian family that arrived in the country to start a new life almost 80 years ago.

Gaspar De Grazia arrived in Argentina in 1935 and began selling chicken with his brother on the streets of Buenos Aires until 1947, when his wife and their first two sons joined them. Their last two children were born later.

As the business grew, Gaspar set up a chicken shop in the Mercado Porteño, a small market in the city of Buenos Aires. In 1965, he moved his shop to where the company's headquarters are now located and Granja Tres Arroyos was founded – named after the street where the market was placed.

During the next years, his sons Pierino and Joaquin took the leading role in making this small sales business into an expanding poultry company.

The family made a joint venture with another Italian family and started producing chicken in Entre Ríos province. The birds were sent to Buenos Aires by truck and barge to be sold in the market of Tres Arroyos Street.


The Piensos Mill, located in Concepcion del Uruguay, Entre Ríos province.

With further growth and integration the first exports were achieved in the 1970s, and then the modern industry was born in the 1980s with the increasing adoption of technology to the production process. In 1985 the company had grown to such an extent that the two families decided to split the business.

Today, Granja Tres Arroyos employs 4,500 people and is the number one poultry producer in Argentina and Uruguay. This year, it will produce 2.8 million birds a week, with total sales growing from US$378 million in 2010 to US$450 million. This compares with 28 million birds per year in 1995 worth US$83 million.

The business is totally integrated with its own soybean crushing plant, feed mill, rendering facilities and laboratories for analysis of raw materials and final products.

Currently 35 per cent of production is exported to more than 65 countries in five continents – among them Spain, France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Russia, China, Japan and the Middle East.


These Cobb 500 grandparents are on a farm in Santa Elena, an isolated area within the Entre Ríos province. In this area, two breeder and four production farms are also located, together with a modern feed mill.

Although the headquarters are in Buenos Aires, the offices and wholesale centres are strategically distributed to form a large distribution network supplying the main domestic markets. Whole chicken, parts and value added products are sold to supermarket and hypermarket chains, wholesale distributors and restaurant chains.

The company is a pioneer in promoting, incorporating and voluntarily certifying the Clean Development Mechanism defined in the United Nations Convention on climate change to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable development.

In 2006, Granja Tres Arroyos made its first move outside Argentina, establishing an operation in Uruguay where it is now the leader for supplying the domestic market and exports.

Investment is gathering pace with four new projects in two years. After opening the Pilar processing plant at Buenos Aires in 2010, its PIER hatchery at Entre Ríos is starting production in November. A second feed mill in Capilla del Señor, Buenos Aires, will be opening in February and new grandparent farms at Santa Elena, Entre Ríos, in June.

A further project is planned in 2012 in the province of Chaco, a region with no history of poultry production. This will be the first full operation located in the north of the country, and will involve breeder farms, hatchery, feed mill, broiler farms and processing plant.

In Argentina, broilers are grown to 2.65kg (5.84lb) with a feed conversion of 1.75 to 1.85. In Uruguay, the weight goes up to 3kg (6.61lb), with the feed conversion 1.85 to 1.95.

Granja Tres Arroyos’ expansion has been helped by the growing appetite of Argentine people for chicken – with per-capita consumption increasing from 22kg in 2002, to 37kg in 2010 and up to 40kg this year. At the same time, the company is benefiting from the highly competitive position of the country’s poultry meat in global markets, pointing to an optimistic outlook for the business.

February 2012