LIVESTOCK feeds manufacturer Capital Foods says its growth is largely driven by small holder farmers who have made it a significant player in the sector.
Recently crowned as one of the Top 100 local brands by the Buy Zimbabwe Trust, Capital Foods manufactures feeds for broilers, layers, free range chickens, ducks quails, rabbits, pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, dogs and fish.
Through, their INOVET brand, the company also manufactures premixes for a wide variety of poultry and livestock which are used by farmers in their home mixing operations.
Capital Foods Sales Director Owen Nyoni said their business model is centered on providing solutions to the smallholder livestock farmer.
“Small holder farmers are our major markets, and that is why our branches are located in small towns and rural areas across the country to provide support and products to the small holder farmers. We are focused on the small holder farmer and we ensure that we build their capacity through our technical teams that support and provide free group training programs to the farmers, especially those who are into poultry production” said Nyoni.
He said through the trainings Capital Foods is able to receive feedback from farmers on the challenges they face and provide solutions to them.
“Through our interactions with farmers, the major challenges that small holder poultry farmers face are in balancing between keeping their flocks warm and maintaining good ventilation during winter. In areas where there is no electricity, some farmers lose a lot of birds during the brooding stage because they do not have the means to keep their birds warm. So we conduct trainings and expose the farmers on the use of affordable tools like properly designed braziers (mbaura) and other methods that do not require electricity. We also highlight the importance of bio-security in order to maintain hygiene, prevent spread of poultry diseases with the ultimate aim to minimize flock mortalities.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) about 70 percent of the Zimbabwe population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. The bulk of food produced in the country is on account of small holder farmers.
Meanwhile, through their INOVET brand, Capital Foods is now exporting premixes for broilers and layers to Mozambique therefore assisting in the generation of foreign currency in the economy.
Nyoni said the company was happy that the bulk of its raw materials are sourced locally but was facing challenges in getting foreign currency for vitamins and minerals which constitute about 5-7 percent of ingredients that they use in manufacturing animal feeds.
“Most of our raw materials are sourced locally, like maize we are getting it from the GMB without any problems but the challenge is getting foreign currency from the banks for the few raw materials we need to import. We have also realized that in the last 2 weeks getting access to soya meal we use in producing livestock feeds has been challenging”.
He said Capital Foods was keen to open new branches in light of the anticipated boom in the agriculture sector.