Livestock refers to domestic animals that are raised for their commercial value. Some of the products they are raised for are meat, hides, fur, milk, eggs, and so on. In Zimbabwe some of the most commonly raised livestock is chickens, cattle, pigs, goats, and rabbits, just to mention a few. For some months now I have been working with a certain Zimbabwean company. The company specializes in livestock feeds and veterinary products and services. My role has been data capturing and management for a digital customer loyalty program. This experience has and still continues to give me a first-hand feel of how the livestock industry is like. In this article I will highlight some of the huge prospects I have noticed.
Livestock Feed – A Worthy Opportunity
Talk to any livestock farmer and one thing will hold true – feeds constitute their biggest expenditure. I can point out one example so that you get the picture. Let us suppose someone has 50 chickens. They would need 200 kilograms worth of feeds costing roughly US$92. In terms of veterinary stuff they would need stress packs and some form of boosters or antibiotics (as a precautionary measure). The veterinary stuff for these 50 birds would cost around US$6. Do you see the comparison? The lion’s share of expenditure goes to the feeds. This tells you that there is money be made in livestock feeds.
I know of many people right now who are making money from retailing livestock feeds. They simply buy from a retailer (or wholesaler), put a mark-up and then resell elsewhere. Simple example, someone buys a bag of feed at US$22 then they go retail it at US$25. They could order things like supplements e.g. a salt block at say, US$15 and then retail at US$20. What retailers do is that they strategically serve a market that is distant and remote from urban areas. This makes the products they retail highly sought after because the consumers typically would not afford to regularly travel to town. This also means they can comfortably place good mark-ups on their products and still realize swift sales.
Another area of interest is the actual manufacturing of livestock feed. I see huge opportunities here also. Just a little secret; I have noticed that poultry farmers prefer 2-phase feeding to 3-phase feeding. If you manufacture 2-phase poultry feeds and tweak them to achieve remarkable chicken growth you might be a game changer. Key word there is “tweak” – no wonder why later on I will touch on research and development.
Veterinary Products And Services – The Real Deal
At the company I have been working with I was surprised when I learnt of something. Before I share I want to ask you a question – what do you think has more gross profit livestock feeds or veterinary products such as vaccines and antibiotics? At face value you might think it is the feeds right? Well, that is what I thought at first considering how frequently it is bought but I was wrong. Veterinary stuff has more gross profit than livestock feeds – a valuable insight to capitalize on. This means if you start a business where you sell such things you will make money. Just one example, cattle farming is characterised by so many veterinary products and services. So if you stock up on such items they will be bought big time.
Research And Development
This is seriously lacking in Zimbabwe. I bet you if you start a business that does research and development in the livestock arena you will make money. I mentioned about tweaking feeds earlier; it takes research and development to come up with outstanding products. I have noticed there are livestock diseases that are seasonal – it has become a norm. However, I like to think studies can be conducted to come up with robust solutions rather than just managing the problem. Another thing; most veterinary products are imported, very few are made locally. These are just some examples to enunciate the importance of research and development. That is why I am confident there is value to be created and money to be made through research and development. Consultancy services also come to mind here – numerous livestock farmers in need of them.
There is a serious shortage of day old chicks in the country. It comes as no surprise why some even have to smuggle chicks into the country from South Africa. This shortage is dire and I have witnessed it first-hand. I am not quite sure where people are missing it. I do know that the number of people doing poultry has surged but why are the suppliers failing to keep up with the demand. Anyways, this is a great business opportunity for prospective entrepreneurs out there. If you can setup hatcheries right now I can guarantee you that you will make money in no time. I also know that it is capital-intensive but do not let that deter, nothing is impossible.
In closing I also want to share with you an observation I have made. The need for transport services in this industry is colossal. From the moving of stocks themselves to consumers transporting their purchases, there is a need. There are many touts that actually make a living mostly from just ferrying people’s feeds to bus termini and so on. I am giving you a challenge to come up with structured transport services in this industry. So that is it, some of the huge prospects in the Zimbabwean livestock industry.