When Dr Peter Oberem founded Afrivet Business Management in 2000 his vision was to create an animal health company which would provide for the unique needs of southern African farmers and animal owners.
Initially this was aimed purely at obtaining products suited to the commercial market and being able to provide expert technical support.
Through continually training the field agents, through enthusiastic marketing, and the support of a network of experts in their particular field, Afrivet have grown sales, enabling the company to become one of the top five animal health companies in Southern Africa.
The company’s track record in marketing and distribution and knowledge of local conditions and requirements, as well as our ability to network, enabled us to approach overseas companies who offered us their products. By opening doors to these multinationals who did not have the local resources nor expertise to bring their products to South Africa, Afrivet created the critical mass it needed to provide a better service and a broader range of innovative products to our customers. This has brought much needed aid to local stock owners and created a long-overdue price competition, to the benefit of the market.
It gradually became clear to us that there were other gaps in the animal health market. There was an increasing demand for technical expertise, which Afrivet could develop and access through our varied contacts in the industry. This gave birth to farmers’ days, to the on-line magazine Veld Talk, a series of articles in the Farmers Weekly, and finally to us writing and producing the comprehensive reference guide to southern African livestock diseases and parasites, which was met with great enthusiasm.
There were yet other needs that were identified: while small rural farmers desperately needed access to veterinary products, they also needed training on primary animal health care to better understand the applications of these products. To meet this need an AgriISETA-accredited training programme was developed.
Afrivet was the ideal company to spearhead the empowerment of communal farmers, since it had become the only Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), South African owned company in the R1.4 billion animal health industry.
With the success story and experience of having assisted the southern Africa communal farmer to achieve better results, the decision was mede to role out the program in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, thereby empowering the growth and emergence of the emerging farmer as well as supporting large agricultural commercial ventures.
Our business strategy is based on a number of founding principles which we believe have contributed to our success:
Livestock production has always been the backbone of African agriculture.
Understanding the importance of livestock to a country’s economy and providing the right products and service to develop this sector is Afrivet’s reason for being. The company offers a wide range of quality products and technical expertise to improve health in the commercial and communal farming sectors.
The Afrivet Plan, or ‘A Plan’, is a management system which the company devised to guide commercial farmers in the planned use of products for effective disease prevention and treatment – rather than random or inappropriate use. The plan is equally applicable to both small-scale communal farmers and large-scale commercial farmers, and guides the farmer’s animal health actions through the year.
A Primary Animal Health Care (‘PAHC’) management system, with six unique training modules, is also available to communal farmers who have limited access to veterinary support. Afrivet’s PAHC Program provides comprehensive information on the knowledge and skills needed at ground level, through full colour training manuals, demonstration videos and multimedia presentations in local languages. These training modules are also used to develop the skills of commercial farm workers, as they play the same role as the small scale stock owner, as the first line of defence against livestock disease and production loss.
Over the past four years Afrivet’s sales performance in the livestock market has shown a remarkable growth rate of >20% per annum, underlining the success of our approach to the industry.
Further support and collaboration with shareholders and NGO’s involved in the sub-Saharan animal health market, will ensure that this model can be rolled out successfully, thereby benefitting all parties in years to come.
Afrivet recognised an urgent need for technical skills and knowledge, along with product availability, in the deep rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa. We aim to empower these marginalised stock owners through training to enable them to detect, prevent and treat animal diseases in their areas.
To meet these training needs Afrivet, an AgriSETA-accredited training provider, has created a Primary Animal Health Care (‘PAHC’) training programme. The most comprehensive programme of its kind in Africa, it arms individual farmers with vital stock farming knowledge and develops their technical and business skills, thus empowering them to take better care of their animals. It also gives them access to stock remedies that are necessary to manage animal health successfully. Training manuals are complemented with PowerPoint presentations and extensive video footage, clearly demonstrating procedures and showing examples of diseases. Manuals, which cover the theoretical and practical aspects of the course, are available in English and local indigenous African languages. For trainees to explore the material in more depth and discuss topical examples, one-on-one assistance in their mother tongue is available. There’s also a range of training aids for use in the field where facilities are limited. Further training support comes from Afrivet’s Diseases and Parasites handbook, a leading reference guide for the veterinary professional.
Further assistance is available from Afrivet’s on-line knowledge resource (in development) and our technical support service (0800 VEEARTS), which is staffed by veterinary professionals.
Afrivet’s Primary Animal Health Care model was designed as a health care system to be used in empowering emerging livestock owners with the basic knowledge and skills needed. By establishing a common approach to livestock disease, Afrivet aims to improve the effectiveness of the existing animal health support structures available to small-scale producers. By focusing on only the most important diseases in a region and using a simple basket of commonly available stock remedies, we aim to reduce the most common causes of livestock disease and production loss.
The outcomes of all the above PAHC actions need to be recorded and reported when consulting a veterinary professional or para-professional. Without a structured record of observation, examination and treatment outcomes the stock owner cannot get meaningful technical support.
After sales service is a vital link in our quality chain. To address this we have a veterinarian on standby at our emergency number: 012 991 6416 to assist clients with any product problems. We also have a team of veterinarians – available on 0860 VEEARTS – who are able to assist stock owners with general queries on animal health.
We believe that Afrivet’s remarkable success over the last decade is due to its honest attempts to do the right thing, to deliver innovatively what the customer needs and to stick to its winning formula. It is our intention to continue with the same strategy and hence we expect the continued growth of Afrivet to be a phenomenon in the sub-Saharan Africa animal health industry.
For further information on Afrivet in Africa, please contact Tony Willis (Manager: New Business Development – SSA) on +27 12 817 9060 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Newmark Estate / Office Park
195 Dawie Street
Silver Lakes Road
P.O. Box 2009
Faerie Glen 0043
+27 12 817 9060
+27 11 374 3874