They say two heads are better than one. The business built by the two Rotava brothers certainly indicates that their heads have worked well together. After a stint in the hardware and lumber businesses, Joé and Oliden Rotava went into the poultry business. In 1964, they founded their company under the name Avícola Pato Branco. The history of this company follows a wave of development in Brazil. In the 1970s, Brazilian agribusiness was taking its first steps and the Rotava brothers were pioneers in the field. Ivan Fernando Lima, who has been chief executive officer since 1974, says that the company has gone through many stages over the past 34 years. One of these changes was the departure of Oliden in 1984, which left Joé at the helm. The name eventually was changed to Frango Seva, and today the company sells frozen whole chickens and chicken parts.
Frango Seva has always anticipated growth in sales with expansion of its capacity. Lima remembers that in the 1980s, the business was of modest size and the 500 chickens processed daily served the local area. But in 1992, the company spread its wings and built a new facility with the capacity for processing 10,000 birds per day. As it grew into its new home by establishing more farms on which to raise the chickens and reaching out to a greater market, 1,500 to 2,000 birds were processed daily.
A system of agricultural partnerships, put into place in 1994 with five partner farms facilitated Frango Seva’s expansion. The chicks provided by Frango Seva are raised by the partner farmers who use their own facilities and workers. Feed, medication and technical assistance and general oversight are provided by Frango Seva. “This solution,” notes Lima, “is a perfect arrangement given the large number of small rural farmers in our area. A team of our agricultural specialists and veterinarians regularly visits the farms to give advice and guidance and to monitor the facilities and procedures.” And production really took off with this arrangement. By the year 2000, with around 50 agricultural partnerships, production had increased to 15,000 birds a day. Currently, Frango Seva collaborates with 120 partners.
Frango Seva’s own farms in the Brazilian state of Paraná house the laying hens that produce fertile eggs. These eggs are incubated until the chicks hatch. The company’s facilities also include a plant where all feed needed for the poultry is prepared. The company is proud of the careful attention given to health, safety and quality in all phases of the poultry production process from layer hens, to hatching eggs, to raising birds for slaughter.
The year 2004 saw Frango Seva take another step toward reaching new markets: After fulfilling the numerous prerequisites and meeting health and safety standards for its facilities and equipment, the company passed all federal inspections and was given the green light for exporting. The company began exporting its poultry at the end of 2005. Frango Seva’s facilities have expanded to accommodate the company’s increasing market over the years. With the world at its reach, Frango Seva upped the number of birds processed daily from 20,000 in 2002, to 45,000 in 2008. Lima says the company is thinking big for the future: “We’re looking to expand to 100,000 birds per day.”
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE POULTRY
It’s only natural that qualified manpower is behind all these accomplishments. The company’s workforce went from 20 employees in 1984, to 50 employees over the ensuing 10 years, to the 500 employees currently on the Frango Seva team. Caring for the people who make the business run is a priority for Frango Seva. The entrance process for perspective employees is rigorous and involves not only training but also briefing and tours so that both employer and employee are comfortable with the match. The company offers its workers medical treatment and physical fitness. There is an in-house physician, nurse and on-site physical fitness facilities. A nutritionist works with employees to improve their health through education about healthy eating and lifestyle habits. And if Frango Seva employees should need counseling on economic or social issues, they can avail themselves of the “mutual assistance” group that offers advice and assistance.
Frango Seva’s frozen chickens and chicken parts are shipped to supermarkets and distributors in Brazil and around the world. Currently, Lima says, approximately 10-15 percent of production is exported. This number was up to near 40 percent in 2007, but fell along with the fall in value of the Brazilian currency. The company has clients in Hong Kong, the Middle East and Africa. While no chicken feet are sold in Brazil, feet and wings are a hot item with Frango Seva’s Hong Kong clients. And the company takes pains to accommodate the special needs of its Muslim clients by following the strict guidelines and rituals, overseen by an authorized outside consultant, involved in halal poultry production.
POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION
Healthy growth of a business is inextricably linked to the health of the environment in which it works. Poultry processing requires boiling water and steam so the boilers at Frango Seva’s plant need fuel. In order to have a clean, environmentally responsible source of wood, Frango Seva established a pine and eucalyptus tree reforestation project. Lima confirms, “The goal is to have the wood used in our process come from these forests.” He added, “We also have the normal processes like in-house recycling in place and all our waste products are treated and their disposal monitored.”
Frango Seva appears to be in a vigorous growth trend. Lima says that the company has a new line of products in the works for 2009. Special cuts and deboned chickens will be available in the freezers of its clients. Frango Seva’s mission is to continue to grow bigger and better. Lima clarifies that the company strives “to be better than we are today; make improvements in our products lines, client relations and internal processes.” He stressed that improvement in these areas is a higher priority than simply increasing production.