- Company supplies over 5000 growers, produces 18m day-old chicks and makes 48000 tons of feed per year
- Supplies 60000 farmers across Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania with chicks and feed
- Procures 26000 tons of maize a year from BAMB and local maize farmers
In an effort to cement its brand in Botswana’s poultry sub-sector, integrated poultry producer Irvine’s has opened a feed mill in Mmamashia, just 15 kilometres north of Gaborone.
Speaking at the official opening of the plant recently, President Mokgweetsi Masisi applauded Irvine’s for aligning its initiatives with priorities of government, saying since setting up operations in the country, the company has invested over P150 million, employing 180 Batswana, and thus contributing indirectly to uplifting the livelihoods of many Batswana in the broiler poultry industry.
“Irvine’s poultry production contributes to almost 50 percent of all chicken meat consumed in Botswana,” said the President. “Irvine’s currently supplies over 5000 growers to mostly women and youth businesses, thereby positively contributing to their growth. “It is therefore gratifying to witness the resurrection of the many small poultry businesses which were facing collapse in the early 2000s.”
Masisi called on local maize farmers and other investors to participate in the value chain system created by Irvine’s, saying the company sources a significant portion of its maize requirements from local farmers and that the feed mill is expected to double its production. The President said Botswana’s increased food demand and ever-changing consumption habits have contributed to the country’s rising food import bill but present opportunities to exploit value chains in the agriculture sector.
He noted that while Botswana is largely self-sufficient in poultry production, it is important to shift towards strengthening the value chains in the sub-sector in order to propel Botswana to become a net exporter of poultry products. “Such areas of focus include production of day-old chicks, feeds, poultry-related veterinarian products and diversified processed poultry products at competitive prices,” he said, adding that the sector has enormous potential to catalyse economic growth in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company started operations in Botswana in 2002 initially producing Cobb day-old chicks and has since invested over P150 million in Irvine’s Botswana with hatchery expansions, state-of-the-art breeder farms, the latest investment being the feed mill. Explaining the significant role that Irvine’s plays in small scale poultry farming, the Group CEO Craig Irvine stated that the company produces 18 million day-old chicks and 48,000 tons of feed per year. More than 60 percent of this production goes into the small scale farming sector across Botswana, the balance to the commercial sector.
“Most people do not understand the size and importance of the small scale sector which, outside of South Africa, produces more than 80 percent of the chicken consumed in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Irvine pointed out. “Irvine’s is proud to supply over 60,000 farmers across Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania with locally produced chicks and feed in each of these countries.” He noted that the company’s operations in Botswana have had a knock-on effect on the supply chain by procuring 26,000 tons of maize a year from the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) and local maize farmers.
“This is just under 40 percent of our maize requirements and we are looking to increase this, going forward,” said Irvine. “As part of this effort, we will start a pilot project with Foundation for Farming, an organisation set up to help small and medium scale farmers improve yields and protect their soil.” Also speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mmusi Kgafela, said that the opening of the feed mill signifies and confirms the confidence that investors like Irvine’s Botswana have in the country’s ability, readiness and competitiveness as an investment destination of choice.
He applauded the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) for continuing to extend and fortify the government’s intentions to grow and diversify the economy by attracting and facilitating investment in key economic sectors such as the agriculture sector. “Irvine’s Botswana has enjoyed red carpet service through the Botswana One Stop Service Centre which facilitates shortened and simplified administrative procedures for issuance of business approvals, permits and licenses,” Minister Mmusi said.