Rural SA ranchers connected with urban markets

Entrepreneur Ntuthuko Shezi

Entrepreneur Ntuthuko Shezi

from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
DURBAN, (CAJ News) SOUTH African farmers in historically disadvantaged areas can now access urban meat trade and monetise their subsistence farming, thanks to an award-winning solution by local innovator.

Around R12 million (US$644,721) has been generated from the system, which is the brainchild of Ntuthuko Shezi.

Two years ago, he won a pitch for funding after entering the Social
innovation Awards, run by the SAB Foundation, a beneficiary of SAB
Zenzele.

By securing enough funding to purchase a truck, and put systems in
place, he could bridge the geographic gap between small rural communal livestock farmers and urban markets.

Previously-disadvantaged ranchers have benefitted from the project that increases the cattle’s value along the way, before their retail
destination.

By creating Grass Beef by Livestock Wealth, Shezi set up a system that also raised the value of the livestock, using an innovative funding model so that rural farmers could ultimately earn more than they would have by selling the cattle directly.

The initiative starts with the company collecting the oxen in rural
areas.

This addresses the initial barrier to entry as these areas are typically under-serviced by transport providers.

The oxen are then brought to fully equipped farms where they are fed and nurtured to grow for six months, using collective funding.

This shared farming service creates healthy livestock, which leads to
healthy beef. This free range, grass fed, hormone free beef is now
stocked by major retailers.

“For rural farmers, this brings the market to their doorstep,” Shezi
explained.

“There are no transport fees or the uncertainties of auctions, which are often tipped against the farmer.”

The project has also created jobs for the herdsmen who work on these farms.

“I estimate approximately R12 million has already been channelled to rural farmers, from whom we have bought cattle so far,” Shezi disclosed.

He said almost 200 farmers and 42 partner farms had benefitted.

Some farmers have bought tractors while others have diversified their farms into other areas of produce such as short term crops.

“Our next venture will be to expand this scheme beyond retail chains to direct home delivery for people who want premium healthy beef,” Shezi disclosed.

The SAB Foundation was a beneficiary of the ten year long SAB Zenzele share scheme, the biggest B-BBEE FMCG scheme in South Africa’s history.

SAB Zenzele wound down in April 2020, paying out approximately R8,5 billion, having generated almost R14 billion wealth and ownership opportunities in the country.

– CAJ News

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