Redefining Business in the Nigerian Livestock Market

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As Nigeria’s business landscape continues to expand, there appears to be growing opportunity for start-ups with innovative ideas, writes Raheem Akingbolu

Hitherto, it was a tedious and grinding encounter when one has to buy a goat, ram and most especially a cow, to host a function. Typically, as recounted by Mr. Abel Collins, who shared the last ugly experience he had when he went to purchase a cow for his late father’s funeral ceremony, you don’t buy a cow by going to only one market; you go to several livestock markets and check multiple cows against their prices before reaching a decision.

Also, the task of buying a cow may require one to set aside virtually the whole day, leaving other activities on hold while coping with the shenanigans of middlemen whose services would add up to the overall price of the desired livestock, anyway.

Hear Collins’ account: “What we wanted was a big cow,” he said. “We wanted a sizeable cow that can be sufficient for the ceremony we were planning. But we know that cows are expensive in Lagos. So we had to go outside Lagos to buy the cow. We bought the cow in Ogun state.”

Collins explained that, just to beat the annoying Lagos traffic and get to the market early enough before the place became crowded with customers and the best cows are bought, he and his younger brother had to leave the house as early as 5am.

“When we got to the market, there were many middlemen who assailed us, pulling us left and right to take us round to the various cattle traders scattered all over the market,” Abel Collins continued.

“It was all very confusing and annoying for me. They were speaking Hausa, arguing as they dragged us from one trader to the next until we finally got what we were looking for. All the while, we had to be conscious because we had cash on us. Someone could pick our pockets, you know. In the end, we had to pay the middlemen, we also paid policemen on our way back, and the traffic was insane all day.”

Needless to say, the exercise took the rest of the day, and the brothers got back home with their cow around 5pm, very exhausted.

But the experience of the Collins brothers is not an isolated one. It is very common. In fact, the account shared above would pale in comparison to encounters that some people may have had on the same trail.

Livestock247.com
However, in this age of advance information technology, it makes no business sense to remain trapped in the past; doing things the old fashioned way when, at the touch of a button on our phones or computers, we can access the world. It goes without saying therefore, that there are better ways of carrying out regular business transactions and effecting payments with ease.

This is the overall driving motivation that inspired the birth of Livestock247.com, a company with its focus on bringing finesse to the way transaction is carried out in the livestock industry. The goal is to redefine the business dimension and rules obtainable in the livestock market.

With the coming onboard of Livestock247.com, Nigerians can now heave a sigh of relief, as buying and making payment for livestock – cows, goats, sheep – just got easier. The online platform has continued to gather momentum, gaining popular acceptance and patronage since its take-off. Now, you can remain in your home, view several livestock markets and traders on your phone or computer, place your order and wait for the specific cow, goat or ram to be brought to you wherever you are.

This novel business initiative thus provides a viable interface for stakeholders in the livestock industry – Buyers, Sellers, Ranch Owners, Livestock merchants and traders, Veterinary professionals, Haulage and logistics companies, and Financial Services Providers – to come together under one umbrella.

Objectives and Opportunities
While hosting a team of reporters in the aftermath of the official take-off of the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Ibrahim Maigari, expressed confidence in the prospect of the outfit as well as his passion and vision to see a transformed livestock market in Nigeria. He opined that the unique service rendered by Livestock247.com would create more jobs for Nigerians, open up the economic landscape and drive commerce in the long run.

According to him, the brand “will create jobs; it will make our people stay in one place instead of moving up and down with cattle. It will encourage elites in the urban areas to set up ranches because you know that there is a consumer somewhere that requires X number of cows or sheep or goats that will be purchased from you. It will encourage export and it will bring in big brands that will come and set up structures in the country because they can now buy livestock products.”

When news of the new online platform made the news, many people were quite ecstatic about it. Though an interesting concept, a number of internet users expressed their views that it’s a welcome development. One his part, Abel Collins whose experience is captured above, said that if Livestock247 had been around three years ago, it would most definitely have spared him the troubled.

Another important objective of the platform is provision of fit-for-slaughter livestock. Maigari reiterated that the company through her unique platform is actually promoting healthy living by making sure that the spread of zoonotic diseases, that is, animal-to-human diseases, are mitigated to the barest minimum.

He noted that, according to statistics, 75% of human diseases actually have animal origin. “Such diseases like flu, influenza, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Monkey pox, etc, all have animal origin. At Livestock247.com, one of our core objectives is to mitigate the spread of animal-to-human disease transmission,” the CEO reiterated.

He added that animals purchased on Livestock247.com platform are not only fit-for-slaughter; they are also traceable from point A to point B. With this unique feature, customers who place order online can track their livestock en route till it gets to their house.

“That means that you know its source, you know the route where it is coming from and when it gets to you, you can even trace,” Mr. Maigari said. “You can track whatever you buy on livestock247.com; that is our own pact with the buyer.

Partnership
To achieve this technological feat, according to Ibrahim Maigari, his company had to partner a major telecom firm in the country, which invented for the first time in this country, what is known as animal identification and management solution. This is a simple process of identifying, monitoring, managing and authenticating the ownership of livestock or animals.

One critical advantage that the Animal ID system will have on the economy of Nigeria specifically, aside from driving commerce, is helping to reduce the incidence of violence and communal clashes occasioned by cattle rustling.

Throughout the history of Nigeria, but more rampant in recent years, the livelihood of hundreds of rural farmers and herders in the Middle Belt and several other parts of the country has been negatively impacted by violence caused by incessant farmers/herders clashes.