Calisa2 greenfield in Argentina is like an oasis

Motta Group wants to conquer shelves abroad with their own Calisa brand


The Motta Group, one of Argentina’s leading poultry companies, is investing more than 22 million dollars in the expansion and modernization of its processing operations. The Calisa2 greenfield project in Racedo is key to the Argentinian and South American poultry market. It will be like a production oasis, starting at 9,500 bph [158 bpm] and fully prepared for 15,000 bph [250 bpm] within two years.

Héctor Motta is the founder of the Motta Group and runs the company together with son Augusto, daughter Helen and nephew Juan Pablo. This family structure has been very successful for more than 60 years. Both father Héctor and son Augusto are persons of influence in the Argentinian poultry industry. Héctor Motta’s career includes functions such as President of CAPIA (Poultry Producers Chambers of Argentina), President of ALA (Latin American Poultry Congress) and Secretary of State for Production in Entre Ríos.

The plan

Augusto Motta explains, “There were two reasons for building a whole new greenfield plant as opposed to expanding our existing one. Firstly, to produce more. We no longer had any more options to grow or offer a wider range of products. Secondly, given our export ambitions, to separate the processing of broilers and layers, which we had processed together. In Calisa1 we will continue to process layers. The Calisa2 plant is completely dedicated to broiler processing. It will allow us to increase production more than fourfold.”

Calisa Products2

Marel is state-of-the-art

Augusto Motta continues, “After spending useful time discussing and analyzing proposals with Marco Solleveld and Diego Artigau, we opted for Marel for the Calisa2 processing plant. I know Marel made a tremendous effort to explain their vision to us during the many meetings we had. We also visited several Marel reference plants in Europe and attended Marel workshops. Finally, we decided to install the whole Marel package, state-of-the-art technology.” The Calisa2 greenfield plant is laid out for an initial capacity of 9,500 bph [ 158 bpm] and has been fully prepared for further growth to 15,000 bph [250 bpm].

The process

Marel is to supply the entire processing line from primary through secondary processing to batching and packing. To start with, the killing (in the direction of Mecca for halal products) and bleeding processes are equipped with Marel systems. With special emphasis on product presentation for both home and export markets, the Motta Group focuses on accurate scalding, plucking and in-line tenderness processes. Marel’s solutions meet these needs in full. Calisa2 is making use of the latest Marel technologies for head and paw cutting. All evisceration line operations are fully automated and based round the Nuova eviscerator. The same goes for giblet harvesting. This is particularly important, as most Calisa whole birds are sold complete with giblets packed in a bag and stuffed in the abdominal cavity.

All these Marel systems will help us maintain the highest standards of product presentation and taste.

Augusto Motta

Augusto Motta

Manage future growth

After water chilling, SmartWeigher and IRIS weighing and grading solutions installed in the distribution line, combined with Innova PDS, help decide which products go where. If not selected for whole bird packing, products proceed to an ACM-NT cut-up system, which includes all thinkable modules, such as the JL-R anatomic leg processor. A second ACM-NT line will be installed when growth requires. After cut-up, breast filleting takes place in an FHF-XB overhead line (later to be extended to three FHF lines), followed by SensorX X-ray inspection. “All these Marel systems will help us manage future growth and maintain the highest standards of product presentation and taste.”

Low giveaway

Calisa has many ways of handling and packing cut-up and deboned chicken parts. Product can be weighed and classified both fresh and frozen IQF. A Marel Multihead Weigher packs IQF products in bulk or in fixed weight bags. Two SmartLine Graders, one for fresh and one for IQF products, classify the parts individually and create batches of the required weights. In this way, Calisa can handle the complete range of product weights with the least number of products rejected and very low giveaway. At the end of the line, Calisa palletizes its boxes with the help of a Marel OCM box grader. Innova packing and labeling software solutions will support Calisa’s packing process. The same goes for palletizing, inventory control and dispatching.

Calisa Filet Codido

Big ambitions

Today, Calisa1’s production is 2 million birds per month. Calisa2 will increase this figure to 8 million. 60% of the products are produced for the domestic market and 40% for export to more than 20 countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Augusto Motta continues, “We already supply important supermarket chains such as Dia and quick service chains such as Burger King, Mostaza and Subway. With Calisa2, one of our most important challenges is to reach shelves abroad with our own brand and packaging. We have big ambitions to continue exporting to Canada, Africa, the Middle-East, China and also reach new markets.”


Sustainability is a valuable asset for the Motta Group. In the industrial area of Racedo, there’s a project to plant trees on 34 hectares [3400 acres]. Augusto Motta says, “We are going to reduce our environmental impact. With the 26,656 poplars and pines to be planted we will be creating a natural lung in the town of Racedo. We will even be generating a positive carbon footprint.” Ing. Ariel Dallinger, Plant Manager Calisa, adds, “One of our main objectives is to continue with efficient environmental management. That is why we will use treated waste water for irrigating the trees in this project.”

Food safety is also one of Motta’s sustainability goals. Calisa2 will ensure optimum food safety by having rigorous control and full tracking and tracing systems in place. The Motta Group also commits itself to strict rules on biosecurity and animal welfare.

Calisa People IPPE

From left to right: Augusto Motta (Motta Group), Arie Tulp (Marel), Hector Motta (Motta Group), Marco Solleveld (Marel)

About the Motta Group

Héctor Motta says, “We started the company in 1958. It was a regional enterprise, because our province Entre Ríos was then an island without any physical connection to the rest of Argentina. We therefore began by supplying the Entre Ríos market only. In the 70’s, Entre Ríos was connected to the rest of the country and we began spreading our regional success to other regions. Today, we distribute our products daily to all Argentines throughout the country.” The Entre Rios (Between Rivers) province is the ‘Mesopotamia’ of Argentina, the main area of poultry production in the country. The Motta Group began its operations with the company Cabaña Avícola Feller, which has since concentrated on the breeding of layers. In 2000, the Motta Group started Complejo Alimentario SA, better known as Calisa, focused on the production of poultry meat. Today, Calisa and Cabaña Feller employ around 700 people.

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