For long, small and medium pork producers have been fragmented in their attempts to ensure profitability and sustainability of their enterprises in the absence of viable farmer driven associations. It is against this background that the VALUE project is working to bring together small and medium players, to undertake collective action and engage in win-win business partnerships with private sector players to tackle the myriad of challenges bedeviling the value chain.
For the Norton Pork Producer Group, one of the small producer groups affiliated to the Chegutu Producers Association, the idea of collective action was adopted early with the group coming together to procure essential inputs such as feed materials and drugs, a move that has reduced transactional costs and positively adjusted their profit levels.
With the project placing an emphasis on reducing cost of feed through on-farm feed formulation, the group has made strides in this regard opting to grow own cereals and formulate their feed on farm using basemixes.
Chairperson of the group Mrs Letwinner Nyagano notes that there have been drastic changes in their projects since they started working together as a group.
“We have come together to do bulk procurement of basemixes, soymeal and wheat barley which has enabled us to reduce transportation costs and negotiate for discounts. For instance, for every 20kg bag of basemix and 1t of soymeal, we are getting discounts of upto US$2 and US$50 for basemix and soymeal respectively. Since we started last year, we have saved over $800 which we have reinvested into our projects.”
After being trained on animal health, the group has also been procuring essential drugs such as Litterguard which has improved productivity and number of piglets farrowed.
“Bulk procurement of Litterguard has ensured that there is no wastage of the doses because we fully utilize all of them as a team, previously we were not purchasing such drugs because they are only available in high doses (Farrowsure is available in 50 dose packages) making it unprofitable to buy as an individual,” added Nyagano.
As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, Letwinner has grown her unit from a 9-sow unit to the current 28 sows and is working to get to 50 sows by end of 2021. Letwinner is currently mobilizing more farmers to participate at group and district level to take advantage of their numbers and collectively realise economies of scale through bulk procurement and joint marketing.