The company, which invests in ‘sustainable’ agricultural developments in Africa, said part of the capital raised from selling a plane and two helicopters is being used to fund feed pelleting equipment that it anticipates will generate an additional revenue stream.
The technology will allow it to process the bran by-product from its grain processing operations into feed for use in its own beef operations but also for sale, at a premium, to livestock farmers within the region.
Daniel Cassiano-Silva, financial director, Agriterra, told us this the first time the company has professionalized its feed operations:
“We have previously produced maize bran as a by-product of our maize milling operations and sold that as cattle feed to our sister company, Mozbife Limitada, or to third parties. However, our expansion into mechanized feed production is to capitalize on the value uplift in the processing of the bran, combining it with other locally available feed inputs.”
The company is looking to provide feed for the local broiler, layer, beef and pig segments.
“Premixed and pelletized [feed will be produced] at our Chimoio maize mill [in Mozambique] where the biggest source of raw material (our bran) is produced. This both limits our transport costs and allows us to utilize the bran from the milling process on a just in time basis, preventing downtime in the feed production or higher storage costs,” said Cassiano-Silva.
The initial capacity will be 2.5 tons per hour, with the option to expand to 5 tons per hour, with output targeted at 120 hours per week, he said.
“The idea is to do our own premix for the cattle in our feedlot as per the specs we have from our feed consultant. We then anticipate offering a selection of raw materials with nutritional values from which customers can formulate or customize [as per] their own feed requirements. There will be a minimum order quantity for this to apply, in the region of 30 tons for a customized mix,” he added.
Agriterra has been established in Africa since 2005 when it kicked off is maize milling business there. In 2009, it moved into cattle ranching, feedlot, abattoir operations and retailing. It also has a cocoa trading and farming activities.
Cassiano-Silva said the group’s ultimate objective in its African operations is to provide high quality produce whilst simultaneously improving the livelihoods of small holder farmers by improving access to markets.
“We currently support around 350,000 farmers through the purchase of maize and cattle from the local community, as well as 700 people [through employment in] our companies. We further contribute to the improvement in local agricultural knowledge practices, both through providing agricultural support to farmers, as well as improving the livestock genetics by breeding our premium bulls with local females," he said.