South African firm invests in Zambia poultry facility

Astral Foods, a South African integrated poultry producer, has through Tiger Animal Feeds Zambia opened TIGERChicks, its new state-of-the-art broiler breeding farm and hatchery in Zambia.

“We have been involved in Zambia for more than ten years and have experienced growth in our business over this period. TIGERChicks demonstrates that our business plan for Africa begins with entering a market with feed premixes, followed by feed production and then identifying the most viable option to enter the broiler market either through the introduction of a broiler hatchery and/or breeding farm, which has enabled us to implement our integration strategy of good nutrition leading to a poultry business and to express our commitment to Africa,” said Chris Schutte, chief executive officer of Astral.

Roedolf Steenkamp, managing director of Astral’s Feed Division, explained: “Because of Zambia’s position in relation to other developing countries in Southern Africa, being self-sustainable in terms of agricultural commodities, this is regarded as being a strategic country to further invest in as a springboard into the rest of Southern Africa.”

“Following my involvement in Zambia as an employee for Astral for over seven years and understanding the agricultural market in Southern Africa, Astral saw this as a valuable opportunity to expand our operations in this region,” Steenkamp said.

“With the establishment of the new state-of-the-art broiler breeding farm and hatchery, we believe that Astral can continue to provide job opportunities, deliver a quality day-old chicken to the local broiler farmers, whilst also offering them training and support in terms of nutrition and broiler farming best practices to ensure that the broiler market develops to its potential. Poultry remains the most affordable and sustainable form of animal protein and hence the importance of supporting small-scale local poultry farmers,” he added.

Currently, broiler consumption in Zambia is approximately 2.5 kg per annum versus 31.8 kg in South Africa.

TIGERChicks will be introducing, in association with Aviagen, the Lohmann Meat Broiler Breed, a slow feathering bird for the first time to Africa. According to Steenkamp, “trials to date have shown that this bird is performing exceptionally well in similar markets.”

Steenkamp stated that at present, the hatchery can hatch 120,000 day-old chicks per week. The footprint for the hatchery and breeder farm has been established to produce and hatch up to a million day-old chicks per week as the demand for broilers in the region increases.

“When we took the decision to commission a facility of this high standard in Zambia, we concluded an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with the Zambian Development Agency and the Zambian Government for an investment of up to US$10 million,” commented Steenkamp.

He continued by saying that “when we started building the TIGERChicks broiler breeding farm and hatchery we entered into supply contracts with Zambian individuals and companies by awarding contracts for various services and product delivery to ensure the completion and continuation of this world-class facility.”

Schutte concludes: “The development of TIGERChicks in Zambia is another step in Astral’s business plan to strategically focus expansion, in a responsible and cautious manner, outside the borders of South Africa.”