SÃO PAULO – JBS S.A. announced plans to double beef production at the company’s processing plants in Iturama and Ituiutaba, Minas Gerais, at a cost of R45 million ($12 million). Upgrades will include modernization of equipment and enhanced efficiencies.

The company said the expansion is intended to keep up with surging demand for beef in China. However, larger production capacity also will serve markets in Europe and Brazil. JBS recently implemented a second shift to accommodate the growth and plans to offer new jobs until the second quarter of 2019.

“We doubled the volume of production in these two plants to meet all export certifications, but mainly because we believe in the strength of the Chinese market,” Renato Costa, president of JBS Carnes. “When we compare the accumulated exported this year with the same period of last year, we had a 125 percent increase in volume.”

JBS has been exporting beef to China since 2015. Processing plants in Lins and Andradina, Mozarlândia and Barra do Garças are certified to export to China.

1 Brazilian Real = 0.27 US dollar