Feeding animals is big business. Produce, formulate or sell animal feed.
So we‘ve heard that Africans love their meat and fish, and you need to feed these animals to meet the demand. With the rising growth in the production of animal proteins (meats, chicken and fish) to support Africa‘s increasing appetite and fast-growing population, animal feed production is growing too.
According to the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF), global feed production generates an annual turnover in excess of $370 million. Despite an abundance of raw materials for feed production in Africa (such as maize, cassava etc), the continent‘s contribution to global feed output is insignificant and clearly provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs.
Meat producers often spend up to 50 to 70 percent of their costs on animal feed. It is the single largest cost any farmer or agribusiness owner will incur to produce market-ready animals, no matter the type (cattle, goats, poultry, fish etc). The small amounts of feed produced locally are not enough to meet demand on the continent. As a result, the African market currently depends heavily on imported feed from the USA, Europe, Brazil and China.
As competition tightens in their home countries, feed producers across the world are looking to high growth markets like Africa to increase their sales. Importers of feed products that serve the livestock production, poultry and aquaculture business segments stand to gain. There is also a huge opportunity for local animal feed producers to take advantage of the continent‘s large market and abundant raw materials and produce feed locally.
While the import of feed is a valid option, you can gain a strong competitive advantage by producing cheaper feed locally. Your business should take that concept on board to beat the competition.
Depending on the country and the kind of animal feed you want to produce, you could use for example farmland waste, seasonal crop residues, or even some locally available plants such as Propopis juliflora (mesquite), a dryland shrub considered a weed because it is fast spreading throughout Africa‘s lowlands where it aggressively invades agricultural crops and grazing land.
As it is not a native plant, most people are unaware of its great feed potential when pods are grinded, processed, and mixed with supplements. And it‘s a free resource!
Be aware not only of the kind of feed you want to produce, but also whom you are selling to. Commercial farms are one option; the masses of Africa‘s poorer farmers and nomads who face chronic food shortage during dry spells are another.
Production of animal feed for fish is a valuable niche, especially in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, and Uganda where fish farming is actively promoted and spreading. Another niche that you could tap into is the processing and packaging of pet feed for households with dogs – most dogs in Africa still get the lunch leftovers. Chicken farms are also fast growing across Africa and in need of adequate feed.
Top Countries & Policy Guidance
There is a shortage of animal feed on the entire continent and as such feed production is a business that would find a suitable market across Africa, but especially in countries with an extended drought period
Action & Tips
Speak to the managers of animal farms and to rural farmers to understand the feed challenges of a certain country, and read through the ample amount of documents available in this regard online.
Start with simple, locally available feed processor equipment or import such machinery. You can start in your own court yard or simply rent a spot on an animal farm (maybe against the exchange of some feed to help you through initial cash flow challenges).
Read this if you are interested in exploring the Prosopis plant as a free resource for fodder production. The document was written by Dr. Harnet Bokrezion, co-author of this book.
Position yourself faster by closely networking and partnering with related agricultural associations and commercial farms.
Visit some of the many local agriculture conferences and expos – this is where you will find key stakeholders in your market that can advance your business.
The Maggot Miracle – AgriProtein (South Africa)
In South Africa, this young business is doing the unthinkable. AgriProtein is breeding billions of flies on a farm to mate, lay eggs and produce maggots. Yes, maggots, those horrible looking creatures that are likely to make you want to vomit. These maggots are fed on organic waste material – producing a nutrient-rich fertilizer in the process – before being harvested and dried into a natural and sustainable animal feed.
AgriProtein‟s maggot-based animal feed is more than 15 percent cheaper than other alternatives and has been proven to be highly nutritious for livestock, especially chickens (poultry), fish and pigs. The company recently attracted more than $10 million in capital to build more fly farms in South Africa.