South African develops an app to assist farmers to sell beef
\nA developing app in South Africa lets investors, eager to be
A developing app in South Africa lets investors, eager to benefit from escalating global beef demand, buy shares in a cow from their mobile phone for as little as 576 rands ($41) according to Reuters.
Self-styled “crowd-farming” firm Livestock Wealth joins investors with small-scale farmers via its “MyFarmbook” app, where they can buy their cow and receive interest rates of between 5% and 14% depending on where they put their money.
Initiated in 2015 with 26 cows, the project now includes more than 2,000 cows and has taken in 50 million rands, with 10 percent of investors coming from outside South African borders.
Groups of investors can buy a whole cow, while individuals can purchase shares in a pregnant cow or young calf.
A pregnant cow costs 18,730 rands and takes 12 months before the newborn calf can be sold for a return while investing in a calf costs 11,529 rands and takes six months for it to grow enough to be sold.
“We can link small scale farmers to big markets by introducing private capital into the growing phase,” said 38-year-old Livestock Wealth founder and CEO Ntuthuko Shezi told Reuters that he was inspired by his grandparents’ farming success.
“The household bank account was a crop,” added Shezi of his family experience, standing among a herd of cattle at a partner farm in Vryheid, a ranching town in northern KwaZulu-Natal province.
Livestock contributes around 51% to the agricultural economy in South Africa, with global sheep and beef prices rising after droughts in major producing areas.
“Many people live in urban areas and they have interests in participating in farming but they cannot physically be there and this offers them a platform to do that,” said Wandile Sihlobo, an economist with South African agribusiness association Agbiz.
Small business consultant Nontokozo Sabela, 34, was once fascinated in farming but found the app a perfect alternative.
She bought her first cow in 2016 and earned around 6,000 rands from it. “This way it’s easier for me, it’s cheaper, it’s convenient,” Sabela told Reuters.
As with any investment, nonetheless, risks exist. Both the impact of weather on feed costs and fluctuations in global demand for beef can affect the cow investments.
The idea is that people pool their funds to own a farm.
“Lots of people want to farm, but not everyone can, so we crowd around one farm,” according to City Press when he explained Shezi about his concept of crowd cattle farming.
Shezi now hopes to expand his business into the produce market after commencing a vegetable growing system this month that aims to give a 220 rand return per month over five years.