Zambeef footprint in Africa shows influence in retail market

The Zambeef footprint in Africa has seen Zambeef Products become Zambia’s leading home-grown multinational.

The food processing and retailing giant – whose motto is ‘Proudly Zambian’ has seen operations in Nigeria and Ghana mushroom into flourishing businesses in their own right, overseen by Zambian managers.

The Nigerian and Ghana operations are direct subsidiaries of Zambeef Products PLC in Zambia and hence profits from the West African operations will be repatriated back to Zambia.

With additional exports throughout Southern Africa, including South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana, Angola, Kenya, Burundi and most recently Mozambique, Zambeef is fast becoming one of the most accessible and affordable quality protein providers in the Southern African region and indeed Africa as a whole.

The company has seen significant growth over the years by staying true to its core business of production, processing, distribution and retailing of its cold chain food products.

Master Meats general manager Clement Mulenga with managers at a workshop in Nigeria.

Master Meats general manager Clement Mulenga with managers at a workshop in Nigeria.

“We operate in some of the fastest growing economies in Africa that present significant opportunities for growth for the Zambeef Group. Zambeef is in many ways a model vertically integrated food business and we are taking Zambia’s success and replicating it in other countries such as Nigeria and Ghana,” said Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officer Carl Irwin.

Zambeef was recognised among Africa’s fastest growing retailers in the influential African Powers of Retailing report issued by Deloitte Africa in 2013 and was also ranked as the 20th largest retailer on the continent by revenue.

A total of 70.5 percent of Zambeef’s turnover in Zambia in 2016 is through its retail operations. With a strong network driven by its cold chain food production unit, which includes the beef, chicken, pork, fish, dairy and egg production and processing activities that primarily supply Zambeef and Shoprite retail outlets, the group has continued to grow its reach to 187 outlets and counting across Zambia as well as its West Africa operations in Nigeria and Ghana.

Zambeef's Master Meat products in Nigeria.

Zambeef’s Master Meat products in Nigeria.

Zambeef’s subsidiary in Nigeria, Master Meats, which began operations in 2005, runs a meat processing plant and abattoir as well as  farming operations focuses primarily on the production of beef, pork, goat, lamb and chicken at its Ikenne Farm in Ogun state, about 90km outside Lagos. The meat is sold through in-store butcheries in Shoprite Stores and standalone Master Meats Outlets in Nigeria. The Ghana subsidiary started operations in 2007 and has a concession agreement for the running of the Shoprite Meat Markets in Ghana.

Zambeef’s Novatek stockfeed division exports to Angola, Malawi, Zimbabwe, the DRC, Botswana, Burundi, Kenya and most recently Mozambique expected to grow.

Currently, the vast majority of agriculture activity in Africa is non-commercial, with 80 percent of total food production carried out by small-scale farmers. However, this is changing as technological advancements and infrastructure development in the sector have also contributed to the progression of industrialised farming and agro processing on a larger scale.

Continued and increased investment in its core operations as well as expanding its retail and distribution network is set to eliminate supply bottlenecks. The successful completion of the US$65 million equity investment by the CDC Group last year enabled Zambeef to take full control of the Zamhatch operations in Mpongwe allowing it to focus its investment in growing its business, accelerate the roll-out of its new macro stores and expand its cold chain foods production capacity in order to meet the growing demand for its products, both in Zambia and in the surrounding SADC/COMESA regions.

Part of Zambeef’s strategy in achieving this is by way of promoting locally grown and produced food products through working with and supporting the local farming community, including thousands of enterprising small-scale farmers who supply cattle, pigs, chickens, milk, maize and soya beans into its operations.

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Author: Staff Writer

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