PHUKET, Thailand, Aug 29 (Reuters) - U.S. agribusiness company Cargill Inc said on Wednesday that it plans to start operating one of China's biggest broiler production facilities by the middle of next year, boosting its presence in the world's top meat consumer.
With an investment of $250 million, the integrated chicken broiler facility under construction in Anhui province would include a feed mill, farms, hatchery and processing plants, said Christopher Langholz, business unit leader for Cargill Animal Protein, speaking at an industry event in Thailand.
"We are doing the construction right now and hope to start by June or July next year," he said. "We will raise 65 million birds a year and it will be one of the biggest integrated plants in China."
China's poultry industry is rapidly expanding with annual growth at 5 to 6 percent, drawing investment in production facilities.
"There is a big trend going on," said Langholz. "Just as 20 years ago you had in pork with modern technology and corporate people getting involved in production, now all that has started happening in chicken."
China, which buys 60 percent of all soybeans traded across the world, could see a jump in demand for feed grains as consumption of chicken meat grows. The country already accounts for half of the world's pork production and consumption.
"Per capita consumption for poultry in Taiwan and South Korea is higher than China," he said. "It is bullish for China consumption due to increasing incomes."