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The Sweden/USAID FARMA II project supported Mabog Gumanović from Grude to expand their pre-hatching and hatching capacities. They will now double the production of day-old turkeys and increase the production of day-old gray chicks by manyfold.

Locally produced fresh and processed turkey meat is a rarity in supermarkets in Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is no surprise since there is only one producer of day-old turkeys in BiH, Mabog Gumanović from Grude, Western Hercegovina.  Until now, they could produce just over 50,000 turkeys, and these would get sold in no time.

"We started producing day-old turkeys in 2003. Back then, a few other poultry producers did the same. However, they pulled out, and we are the only ones left," says Boris Grizelj, the owner of the company.

Turkey particularities

The reasons for the reluctance of many in BiH to work on the production of day-old turkeys are that the fertilized eggs need to be imported, and more importantly, that those eggs are very sensitive and that the hatching process requires a lot of attention while the success rate is lower than with the day-old chicks.

“We import fertilized eggs from France and Hungary,” says Boris, “and that is an easy part." According to him, pre-hatching and hatching of turkeys must be monitored closely. "When it comes to turkey eggs, the process is very sensitive, mistakes can be made in less than a minute, and everything matters; egg weight, shell temperature, air humidity, and of course the temperature of the hatchery, which must not change."

Until recently, Mabog Gumanović had one hatching facility. It used it for the production of both day-old chicks and day-old turkeys. With an 80 percent success rate when it comes to chicks and 65 percent when it comes to turkeys, in 2019 and 2020, they were able to produce 300,000 day-old white and gray chicks and 50,000 day-old turkeys annually. But this is about to change soon.

The expansion

In June 2020, the Sweden/USAID FARMA II project supported Mabog Gumanović in purchasing a new specialized pre-hatchery, hatchery, and a control unit, which almost doubled their production capacities.

"We will use the new production complex to produce day-old turkeys and day-old gray chicks. Its capacity is 300,000 day-old turkeys or chicks a year, and we will come to those numbers as the market develops," says Boris.

Right now, they plan to produce 100,000 day-old turkeys for buyers in BiH, including Alex d.o.o. from Laktaši, one of few producers and processors of turkey meat. They will also increase the production of day-old gray chicks, which are suitable for the free-range production of both eggs and chicken meat, and which thus far accounted for only five parcens of their production of chicks, i.e. 14,000 to 15,000.

"With the new equipment we are looking to produce some 120,000 day-old gray chicks a year," adds Boris. "This type of chicks gives very good results, and the farmers are very satisfied."

Focus on quality

Like any other company from this branch, Mabog Gumanović needs quantity to be profitable but the quality is what provides for long-term sustainability.

“We will not expand the production of day-old white chicks beyond the current level. We have our buyers that include smaller companies and household farms who know our quality. Nonetheless, we want to get much better in the production of turkey and gray chicken," explains Boris.

According to him, with the specialized hatchery and control system, their success rate in the hatching of day-old turkeys will go up from 65 to 85 percent, while the gray chicks are known for their resilience. "As we increase the production of day-old turkeys and gray chicks, we hope that more high-quality poultry meat of greater variety will become available at our market. That is good news for everyone, both producers and consumers," he concludes.