Marketing Goat Meat in Zambia: Zamgoat’s Story


Paul Nyambe, founder and of Zamgoat

In Zambia, goats are the second most popular type of livestock and raised by small farmers. The animals are hardy and able to live on a wide range of herbs and plants available.

Despite the prevalence of goat farming, packaged goat meat was generally not found on supermarket shelves; it was widely sold informally. For Paul Nyambe, this was a glaring gap in the market. Growing up in rural Zambia, raising goats as a child, he wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to market goat meat.

Nyambe had gone from a cleaner in a consumer goods company to a regional salesperson in an ice cream maker. He enjoyed being in sales and building relationships with local supermarkets in the capital Lusaka. In 2012, he bought his first goat at the city’s cattle market. He used a friend’s butcher’s shop to process and package meat for a supermarket that had expressed interest in his idea.

“Within three to four days, the stock was exhausted and the supermarket contacted me to provide more,” recalls Nyambe. “My previous assumptions that this would be a popular product were confirmed and I became even more motivated. That’s when I looked to register the business and find funding.

Within three months, the fledgling company was supplying five supermarkets and, at the end of 2012, it obtained its first external financing, thanks to a government program, which enabled it to set up its own butcher’s shop from where it also started to sell directly to the public. Zamgoat has seen a steady increase in demand from both the public and its wholesale customers.

Building a new value chain

By the end of 2013, the list of wholesale customers had grown to 20 and Zamgoat was selling its products to around 200 direct customers per week from its own retail site. The request was clear; people wanted the convenience of prepackaged goat meat in local supermarkets and butcher shops.

The company set up a network of small farmers across the country from where it was able to source live animals for slaughter and meat processing. She also got involved in agricultural processes by providing breeding animals if needed and offering knowledge services and training to some farmers to increase productivity.

In 2014, Zamgoat was accepted into an acceleration program run by an organization called Fledge. With the funding received, she purchased a refrigerated truck to help distribute the meat to wholesale customers.

Nyambe and the team worked to increase awareness of the product, which led to the early competitors entering the fray. “Traditional meat processing companies – which had previously overlooked the goat as an opportunity – were starting to add goat products to their offering,” he says.

Packaged Zamgoat Meat

Packaged Zamgoat meat.

Additional funding from Fledge helped purchase additional equipment to add value and process goat meat into products such as goat sausages and goat biltong (salted and cured meat). At the end of 2016, Zamgoat opened Zamgoat Xpress next to its butcher’s shop, where ready-to-eat take-out goat meat dishes were sold. “We offered grilled goat and fries, goat sausage and fries, burgers and smoked goat,” says Nyame.

International awareness has started to open doors

Recognition of the impact of the business on rural farmers and their income increased. In 2017, Zamgoat was recognized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), as part of the African Youth Forum on Agripreneurship, as one of the leading agribusiness companies transforming agriculture on the continent. The company was then chosen by the AfDB from a cohort of 17 African companies to participate in a familiarization visit and training in South Korea. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has also included the company in programs to provide additional training and technical support.

Nyambe was encouraged to pursue a major business expansion in 2018. Yet even with the recognition of these international organizations, as well as clear demand in the market, traditional financial institutions have remained cautious in funding a business in a sector also underdeveloped.

“We have faced challenges in mobilizing the necessary funding to expand our wholesale offering and expand our reach into the market. It had to do with the whole new nature of our industry, the goat industry as a whole. We were not seen as a viable option by most funders. “

Nyambe focused on the social impact of the business to attract development finance as an alternative to traditional debt finance and in 2019 the company was included in a project funded by the World Bank and managed by the government. Zambian.

Thanks to this financial support, Zamgoat set up in 2020 a one-of-a-kind slaughterhouse and goat processing facility in Lusaka, which will allow it to increase its capacity tenfold.

“The only thing that held us back was the completion of this treatment facility,” he says. “We have engaged with 500 small farmers across Zambia; by the end of the year, we could very well be up to 5,000.

Nyambe is optimistic that the 80 goats currently processed per month will increase to a minimum of 800 by the end of 2021. He believes there is a prospect of exporting to Angola, DRC and even further afield. . “The government of Saudi Arabia has indicated its interest in importing one million goats from Zambia and it is up to the private sector to seize this opportunity.”

Diversify the product line

Various innovative products exist in the chicken, beef and pork sectors. But this has not traditionally been the case with goat meat and Zamgoat aims to change that.

“Over the past three years, we have developed our Zamgoat Xpress brand into a quick-service restaurant model that offers exclusive take-out goat cheese. We are developing a range of burgers through an independent brand, Billyburgers, as well as a pizza brand, Pizzagoat Africa, ”he adds. With these new products, Zamgoat hopes to expand its reach in the market.

“Customers were only exposed to one way to consume goat and we are showing them new options and hopefully increasing sales. The fact that the goat meat industry has historically been underexploited makes it more lucrative; an opportunity that any forward-looking investor or businessman should consider.

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