A company from the interior of the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina is exporting duck meat to Japan and China and also intends to become a supplier to the Arab countries.
Villa Germânia slaughters between 2,300 and 2,900 ducks a day, half of which are turned to the foreign market. The animals sold are of the Peking duck breed.
Villa Germânia started exporting to Asia in May last year, after poultry farms in the region started having problems with avian flu. The company sells whole, cut and boneless ducks to the Chinese and Japanese.
According to the company administrative director, Marcondes Aurélio Moser, Villa Germânia is expanding its productive capacity so as to enter, starting next year, the Arab and European markets.
“We have already been contacted by people in Saudi Arabia who are interested in importing our product, but our productive volume is still very small,” stated Moser.
Villa Germânia has tree production units in Indaial, a city 160 kilometers away from Florianópolis, the state capital, and is currently expanding installations.
The number of producers who work in partnership with the company, currently 20, should rise to 100 in the next two years.
Villa Germânia works on integrated systems with farmers. The company buys the ducks from England and France and delivers ducklings to the farmers, who receive technical assistance from the company so as to breed them. The ducklings spend 52 days on the farms and are then slaughtered.
The Brazilian market, apart from buying the duck whole, in parts, and boneless, as do importers, also purchases the product stuffed and seasoned.
Villa Germânia products are distributed to supermarkets, as well as restaurants and typical German fairs in the Santa Catarina region. Stuffed duck is a typical dish of German cuisine.
In the city of Brusque, which is 58 kilometers away from Indaial, every two years there is a party called Fenarreco, the National Duck Party. At Oktoberfest, a traditional party in the German culture, which has an edition in the city of Blumenau, also in the state, stuffed duck is also served.
The dish is served with mashed potatoes, red cabbage and spetzel macaroni, also typical of the German cuisine. At restaurants they make fine dishes, such as duck magret, with the breast, duck confit, in which the duck is fried in its own fat.
Villa Germânia also works with rabbit meat, guinea fowl and mule duck. The mule duck is a mixture between the Peking and Barbarie ducks, and its origin is in Central America. The duck was later genetically improved in Europe.
Mule ducks have large livers, around 500 grams, which are used in the production of foie gras. The pâté is mostly served at fancy restaurants.
Between rabbits, ducks and chickens, the company slaughters from 2,500 to 3,000 animals a day. Guinea fowl go through the same integrated production system used for the ducks, but the rabbits are bought ready for slaughter.
Villa Germânia was established in 1995, by André Grutzmacher, who is currently the company production director. Moser, the other partner, entered the company three years ago.
Both are agronomical engineers and were colleagues at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. According to Moser, at the beginning of company activities, only 80 animals were slaughtered a week.
The company was born to supply the local German community demand for duck meat. Despite being very popular in Santa Catarina, however, in Brazil as a whole, consumption is still small.
Consumption totals 15 grams per inhabitant a year. In China, for example, the volume is one kilogram and in Europe, 700 to 800 grams. Duck meat is also consumed by the Arabs, in countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Figures supplied by the Foreign Trade Secretariat, under the Ministry of Development show that the country ended 2004 with exports of US$ 1.1 million in duck and goose meat. This figure includes sales of fat livers. In the previous year, sales totalled just US$ 76,000.
Translated by Mark Ament
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency