It has secured the cash from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to expand its farms and processing facilities.
“Pork accounts for half of all protein consumption in Romania and demand for pork remains strong, domestically and internationally,” said Dariusz Nowakowski, president of Smithfield Europe.
“We are committed to meeting this demand with the highest performance standards for environment and social responsibility, including animal welfare.”
Global food security
Alzbeta Klein, director for manufacturing, agribusiness and services at IFC, said: “IFC is investing in industry leaders who are transferring higher standards, improving efficiency, and helping Romania contribute to global food security.”
The latest announcement follows reports on the significant decrease in meat prices in the Romanian market following a decision by the country’s government to reduce value-added tax (VAT) on food and non-alcoholic beverages.
The VAT was lowered from the previous rate of 24% to 9%, starting on 1 June. As a result, prices of numerous food products have been decreasing in Romania, as indicated by the latest figures from the state-run National Institute of Statistics (INS).
Last month, average food prices in Romania were 8% lower compared with the same month a year earlier, according to statistical data obtained by local news site Economica.net. Prices of meat products fell by 10.33%.
Local observers expect that food prices in Romania could further decrease this year.
Smithfield Romania is a subsidiary of China’s WH Group. Last year, the conglomerate took over US Smithfield, the largest pork processor and hog producer in the world, according to the Chinese group.
The firm makes fresh pork and packaged meat products under the brand of Smithfield, and sells them in the US, China, Japan, Canada, Mexico and Russia.
Smithfield Romania has been operating in the country’s meat market since 2004. The firm owns a slaughterhouse with a capacity of some 600 head an hour, and is based in Timisoara, in the country’s western part.
In the domestic market, Smithfield produces fresh pork meat and semi-processed pork meat under the brand Comtim.
The firm’s facilities in Romania are ISO 14001, 22000 and OHSAS 18001 certified, according to data released by Smithfield.
IFC is part of the World Bank Group. The financial institution says it is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, working with private enterprises in about 100 countries.
Last year, the institution provided $4bn (€3.6bn) for agribusiness-related investments across the supply chain.