The first area of focus is the growth and expansion of retail outlets is a key area of focus for Sondelani. The company already has chick distributors in Gwanda, Gokwe, Gweru Hwange, Plumtree, Victoria Falls and Zvishavane. The plan is to leverage of these relationships and diversify the retail outlets from chicks, feed, and broiler related equipment and vaccines into seedlings, fertilizers, chemicals, drip tape, cropping equipment and other farmer inputs. We have seen that small scale farmer production can be best unlocked in synergy with large scale capacity, and these retail shops are the first leg in building capacity amongst small scale farmers. To this end we have continued to build partnership with leading equipment and agricultural input suppliers who are drawing from resources all over the world. In addition there are plans to open retail outlets currently in Chiredzi and Chivhu, and in the future to expand by way of depots in smaller towns and growth points.
Tied into the growth of the retail outlets is the unlocking of production capacity. The bulk of this capacity is expected to be unlocked in marketing contracts with outgrower farmers (marketing contracts in terms of Sondelani will provide markets and technical assistance and farmer will provide inputs and labour). The unlocking of this production is mutually beneficial to the farmer and Sondelani as (a) Sondelani increases its production of basic inputs (chicks, feed seedlings) and becomes more efficient at this core business, as well as ensuring a steady flow of product for retail markets (b) small scale farmers become more productive and profitable and more efficient at farming with a guaranteed market for produce.
Develop Value Addition Manufacturing
The last focus point for Sondelani is developing a value addition chain for excess production. The first step in this is that Sondelani has invested over half a million dollars in the procurement of a tomato processing plant. This plant when operation will process one hundred and fifty tons of tomatoes a day. The primary market for the tomato paste would be South Africa who import more than 80% of their paste requirements from China and Europe (to give an indication of scales, we would need eight plants the size of the one procured to meet between 5% and 10% of South Africa’s demand for tomato paste). There are also plans to procure a chicken abattoir, and to invest in egg grading and packaging equipment.