Brief Overview of the Brand
Livestock247 is a platform, like your Amazon for livestock. We have a vision of formalizing the livestock sector. Nigeria is a member of the world organization of animal health countries(OIE), like your WHO but for animals, they set the rules and regulations for traceability, movement and management of animals globally which means we have signed some protocols with them. All OIE countries are supposed to have some basic standards like traceability, management, movement and identification of animals. So as members of the organization, we are supposed to set up some standards on how to develop our livestock sector and with the Government talking about more diversification in the economic growth of the country which is already a country that is basically relying on oil, there is so much to talk about like agriculture which livestock is a part of. So we really want to open up the sector so people will invest. Without formalization, big funding will not come into the sector. If people see the risks and they don’t see the opportunities, they won’t get involved. All they hear about livestock is farmer-herder crisis and people don’t see it as a big business.
What problem are you solving in the industry?
Lagos is the largest livestock consuming city in sub-saharan africa. Lagos slaughters over 6000 cows a day and this is a statistic that was given to us 2 years ago based on government approved abattoirs. There are a lot of people that are slaughtering in several corners and small places that a lot of people don’t know. Nigeria currently has over 42% of the animal livestock population in Africa which is based on a UN survey in 2013. The last time Nigeria had a survey was in 1991 which was approximated so we don’t have the exact population of livestock in the country. And as members of the OIE, we are supposed to have all those things in place, if not for anything but for disease surveillance. For example, if there is a mad cow disease in zamfara state, Lagos takes in about 1000 trucks a week from the north, if there is an outbreak of the disease, Lagos is an exponentially growing city of about 23 million people, so how do we quarantine the diseased cows without animal identification. People just go to Okoba and buy meat without knowing where it came from . So how do we know, are we going to blacklist all animals from the north in the event of an outbreak, Animal Identification solves that problem. In terms of Export, before the coming of Livestock247, nobody can legally export 1kg of beef because we don’t have the functional Animal Identification system. We don’t have brands like Mcdonalds, Subway and Burger King in Lagos which are three major burger brands that use a lot of meat. If you go to to Ivory coast and Namibia, we have franchises of the brands over there. The reason we don’t have these brands in Nigeria is because we don’t have a functional Animal Identification system and a global brand like mcdonalds would like to know where this cow is coming from, for example, Its coming from Tolu’s Farm in Ikorodu and this is the genetic identity of that farm and this is how it got to our store so that if there is a break in the chain or a problem with a particular batch, they can trace it back,that is traceability and that is what Livestock 247 is laying the foundation for.
What were your initial challenges when trying to build the brand?
We would say the general e-commerce sector. Most e-commerce websites have gone down in the past two years and of course the acceptability of the means of trading. The livestock business is basically a see and buy business. I have to see the cow i want to buy and initially we had the problem of people not seeing the item and asking how we can expect them to pay online and we deliver. Trust is one issue and even though its picking up, As Nigerians, our trust level is very low which is quite justified because we have a lot of crazy people out there who are duping people whether online or offline. So we got that as a challenge and it’s a business where people are used to going to a cattle market and buying the livestock,so we are working on it. Currently,we have like an offline marketplace where you can visit and see the same item you saw on the platform in any of our closest depot to you where the animal is located and then pay for it online and then it could be delivered to you or you pick it up right there. So those are the few challenges that we faced. Another thing is the whole point of sale of livestock. What you are interested in buying is not just a cow, or goat or rabbit, it’s the meat they want so we had the initial challenge of people calling us and asking if we sell meat and they are interested in what we are offering which is traceability and fit for slaughter but if they buy a cow, what will they do with it and that they would prefer to buy meat. So we have solved that problem too, by coming up with something called meat247 which is part of the deliverables of livestock247. We are partnering with butchers and abattoirs, clean and hygienic butchery and you can buy meat from us and it can be delivered to you or you can pick it up from any butchery of your choice around Lagos. Challenge to an entrepreneur is a blessing. When you launch a product, its normally a minimum valuable product, your MVP and you push it out and you respond to the feedback and comments from the market and tweak your product. So we don’t see all these as challenges but as feedback and it has let us done us well and we have tweaked our model. You can buy meat now on the platform, you can preorder for your occasions coming up and what you buy online is what is delivered to you offline and the Animal Identification Number is there and when it is delivered to you, you can check online with the number to make sure you were given the right product.
What would you say would be your unique selling point?
Our objective is mitigating the spread of animal to human disease transmission and we don’t want to die or fall sick so we are educating people on the dangers of consuming unfit for slaughter livestock and that is our USP. We also developed the technology prior to livestock247 that ensures traceability. So I can sit down here and tell you that this cow is coming from a particular farm or a particular place and this is the truck that brought it to Lagos with the date and time it arrived Lagos with details of the person that slaughtered it. That is something that is unique. A lot of people are selling livestock online but no one will give you this amount of data in terms of traceability. So if you are a brand that supplies processed beef to big hotels, they would be interested because they can trace what their guests eat. Even the chicken you are buying, you can know where the chicken comes from. So that’s our USP. We also do deliveries and we are taking that inconvenience from you. So wherever you are in Lagos, you can just buy and it will be delivered to you. You don’t have to go to Okoba or Maitori. Lagos is a city of congestions so we are taking that inconvenience away from you and we hope people will come back to us. Also, our prices,we give affordable prices as we have a lot of merchants on the platform that are willing to sell, so with so much numbers, we can now do the economics of scale since we have a lot of people trying to sell one thing. In the sense of, what you buy from us will be cheaper, healthier and faster than going somewhere else to buy.
What should we expect from Livestock247?
We are optimistic that this is just the beginning and we haven’t scratched the surface. Lagos processes over 1.5 million kg of beef a day and that is massive. Lagos has over 5.2 million households which is crazy and the city consumes and consumes. Based on world economic review, Lagos will be one of the largest megacities in the world in the next couple of years. So we see livestock 247 becoming the go to place for anything livestock. We are talking about data here. This is March and we went live in November. We already have Research institutes from overseas reaching out to us and thinking about partnering with us and thinking about getting the data we have so they can help us with disease surveillance and setting up veterinary laboratories around the country. So we want to see ourselves coming up with something beyond Nigeria where this model can be used in Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and anywhere else. We are trying to set up a standard and people are calling from overseas who have seen our site and want to order livestock from us and we also address the issue of identification. We want this platform to be used by exporters also, if you want to export from nigeria, you can just order and export straight to another country. So we see this initiative transforming into a megahub of activities. We call ourselves a triangle of commerce, health and technology. We promote health and hopefully stop people from going to this unhygienic abattoirs so people will invest in opening up private abattoirs. What the private abattoirs are suffering now in lagos is slow traffic because 99% of people who sell meat claim there is no disease in Nigeria which is not true. Our Vet doctors tell us that the people who are most exposed to this diseases are women. It causes miscarriages, sterility. It may not be noticeable early but overtime it causes dangerous impacts in the body. Women are thee most vulnerable because are the one that have first contact with the meat after it has left the butchers because they handle the raw meat. The man gets it at a later stage when the meat has been processed and cooked depending on how it has been boiled and fried but what affects the woman still affects the man in other ways. So we are trying to do our bit to reduce the transmission of these diseases and we want to de-ethnicize livestock production. Cows don’t understand who is yoruba or igbo or fulani. All they need is Green grass and water. So we are trying to make livestock mainstream. And people are partnering with us and trying to open ranches, so in the next three years, our expectation is high.
Feel Free to check out Livestock247 on IG @livestock247ng and you can check out their website here
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