As livestock production regains popularity in farming communities across Zambia, affordability and access to stockfeed becomes increasingly important.
Going forward, and with the steadily rising livestock population in the country, suppliers such as Zambeef’s Novatek division have a significant role to play in meeting this growing demand.
“We are seeing immense growth in the demand for feed for the livestock sector, particularly in poultry, which is considered to be the more affordable source of meat-based protein in comparison to others such as beef, pork, goat,” explained Zambeef deputy managing director Walter Roodt.
Focusing on its core divisions – cold chain food products, and stockfeed – Zambeef Products continues to strengthen and grow capacity in these areas with a view to staying ahead of the curve.
Its new US$10 million Novatek plant in Mpongwe, which opened in 2017, is already operating at 44 percent production capacity, bringing the total monthly production capacity to 25,000 tonnes.
“We produced 200,846 tons of feed in 2018 compared to 155,795 tons in 2017. Our target at the time of opening was to achieve 30 percent capacity but that has been exceeded as we are currently at 44.4 per cent capacity. There is still much room for growth and we aim to maximize production at the plant over time,” said Mr Roodt.
Increased capacity at Novatek also entails increased demand for inputs for one of the country’s largest buyers of soybeans and maize. In 2018 alone, 164,724 tons of material was procured from small and medium scale farmers in the stockfeed operations.
Nearly 25 per cent of Novatek’s production is consumed by its internal livestock divisions within the Zambeef Products Group with the remainder channelled to the external market, both within Zambia and in the surrounding region – the local poultry sector alone takes up some 75 percent of production.
The proximity of Novatek’s Mpongwe plant to markets on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces, as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo will not only increase efficiencies of service in those markets but also lend to reduction in distribution costs that farmers stand to further benefit from.
With over 90 branded Novatek agency distribution points and 24 Novatek outlets in Zambia; and 18 agency distribution points in Zimbabwe, the division is still spreading its wings with the opening of new macro retail stores by the group as well as growing distribution networks outside Zambeef’s own retail chain. Since 2016 more than 20 such outlets opened across strategic locations in Zambia.
Opportunities in the form of outlets in border towns such as Nakonde and Kasumbalesa have allowed Novatek to tap into the region’s growing markets thus providing both local farmers and those from surrounding areas to access quality feed tailored to their livestock.