Livestock Wealth: Investing the African way

Meet Ntuthuko Shezi, the man on a mission to unlock the value of cows by turning cattle into a global asset of value comparable to mineral resources like diamonds and gold

Lets be honest, how many of us really comprehend the intricacies of unit trusts, share trading and bonds? If you do, the likelihood is that you’re in the minority.

So instead of trying to work against the majority tide, Shezi –a serial entrepreneur and former Accenture strategy consultant – decided to go back to basics.

His latest business venture Livestock Wealth was born out of the need to design wealth creation investment opportunities for Africans in an unpretentious way that the intended beneficiaries could understand.

With an annual savings purse of R50 billion, Shezi says stokvels are proof that lower- to middle-class South Africans are in fact interested in investing and building their wealth, but he argues that the products currently available on the market are “way too complicated”. “

“I’m an engineer, but really the unit trusts and those sorts of things sometimes are Greek to me in terms of how value is derived. Most people who are lower- to lower middle-class and downwards really want to invest in something they understand,” he was quoted saying in an interview with Business Day TV.

Livestock Wealth is a digital, trademarked “crowd-farming” platform officially launched in October this year that allows wannabe farmers – who don’t know the first thing about farming, let alone owning land,  to establish a farm – to invest in cows remotely.

“Historically, cattle have been a source of pride and a store of wealth for the majority of Africa’s population. Livestock Wealth aims to bring bovine wealth into the present, restore the pride of cattle ownership and provide people with the opportunity to invest in a commodity that they have a natural affinity for,” he said.

Investors can purchase one cow for around R10 500, with an option to pay it off over three to 36 months as well as a monthly ‘rental’ fee of R295 that goes towards the upkeep of the cattle and veterinary service fees.

Ultimately, Livestock Wealth will manage your portfolio of cows, as it were, like an investment portfolio.

Livestock Wealth aims to bring bovine wealth into the present, restore the pride of cattle ownership and provide people with the opportunity to invest in a commodity that they have a natural affinity for

He says investors would receive an annual dividend payout raised from the sale of the cow’s offspring to abattoirs and that your cow would be replaced, at no cost, when it reaches the age of eight.

Livestock Wealth’s pilot cattle farm is currently located in Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, but investors can track their cows through a mobile app that will give them instant information about the state of their health, updates, pregnancies and births.

You can even visit the farm in person if you wish.

A recent participant on Talk Radio 702’s Business Accelerator mentorship programme, Shezi says his fundamental goal is to kick start the process of promoting cattle into a status asset similar to the status of gold.

“We want to create an eBucks-style currency that people can use to trade, buy and access financial services. The value of the currency would be determined by the number of cows one has,” he told the radio station.

He’s set ambitious expansion targets for himself, hoping to grow the company’s portfolio to managing 10 000 cows by next year, 100 000 cows within the next three years and to further grow the number to one million cows over the next five years.

“With that kind of scale, we could have our own abattoir facility, which would improve the returns to between 12% and 20% per annum,” he said.

As the business grows, Shezi’s biggest challenge will be acquiring and leasing land for additional farms, but he remains positive that he’ll be able to find partners who can help overcome this inevitable challenge.

“We’re looking for assistance on that front in being able to lease or buy farmland, to be able to get these people’s cows on the farms because each single cow requires about 2ha of grazing land, which is a lot, and it’s free-range, it’s not like factory style,” he told Business Day TV.

Source: Business Day TV