We Are Here To Open Up And Diversify The Nation’s Economy – Livestock247.com CEO

Livestock247.com, the first online livestock market in Nigeria, was recently launched to the general public in November, 2018, in a well-attended media event. The idea of the aggressive business initiative, according to its founders, is to provide a veritable interface for stakeholders in the industry: Buyers, Sellers, Ranchers, Livestock merchants and traders, Veterinary professionals, Haulage and logistics companies, and Financial Services Providers to come together under one umbrella. Having taken off in Lagos for strategic reasons, the company has its gaze set upon covering Abuja, the South East and South South (Nigeria) livestock markets before the year ends, and extending to other African countries subsequently. Chief Executive Officer of Livestock247.com, Mr. Ibrahim Maigari Ahmadu, had an exclusive chat with MARKETING EDGE, where he shared his visions for the company as well as for the livestock industry as a whole. Enjoy.

Could you tell us what Livesstock247.com is all about?
Livestock247.com is a platform and it is Nigeria’s first online livestock market. It is the first of its kind and I am privileged to be leading the team. Livestock247.com is about bringing together various stakeholders in the livestock value chain.
We have the buyers, we have the sellers. I mean the sellers could be merchants, ranchers and even traders of cattle, goats or sheep. We have the butcheries and the abattoirs. We have the veterinary professionals, we have haulage companies and we have financial service providers and the banks. We call it the triangle of commerce, health and technology. Like I said, it is a platform and we are facilitating commerce.
We are making sure that the buyer in the first place has the convenience to buy livestock from anywhere at any time, all the time and pay online and get it delivered at his door step without experiencing inconveniences of course, in a big city like Lagos.
As you know in Lagos, it is difficult to move around from one place to another let alone going to a livestock market to buy livestock; so we want to take that inconvenience off you.
Another key factor there is that what the buyer is getting on livestock247.com is value for money because before a product or the livestock is listed on Livestock247.com, we have a very strict regulatory oversight performed by our in-house veterinary professionals. If the livestock is not fit for slaughter; it will not be listed on Livestock247.com.
Why are we doing this?
Statistics have shown that 75% of human diseases actually have animal origin. At Livestock247.com, one of our core objectives is to mitigate the spread of animal-to-human disease transmission. Such diseases like flu, influenza, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Monkey pox, etc, all have animal origin.
We have five emerging diseases every year and out of that five, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), three are of animal health origin; that is sixty percent which is rather huge.
What we are doing is actually promoting healthy living by making sure that we mitigate the spread of these animal-to-human diseases. What we give you as a buyer is that trust, that assurance that what you are buying is fit for slaughter and it is traceable.
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, you can track whatever you buy on livestock247.com; that is our own pact with the buyer.
What are we giving the seller?
We have various cattle markets all over the country, from the North to the South, to the East, to the West. We are not changing anything, we are just structuring it; we are giving it more formalization. The typical cattle or livestock market in the North or in the East normally comes alive once in a week or twice in a week. For instance, the Maitagari market in Jigawa State, North Western Nigeria; it is a market that comes alive every Thursday. At this market, you will meet merchants, traders all the way from Mauritania and Morocco plying the cattle routes that have been existed for hundreds of years; they come, sell and leave. This market has a turnover of over N1billion every week.
The Maitagari market is just one example. If you go there on Thursday, it is like Apapa in Lagos. But when you go there on a Friday, they would have moved to another town, let’s say Tungan Malam market in Niger State which is on a Saturday; that is how it goes.
What we are telling the sellers is; ‘why must you only sell on a Thursday if you are in Maitagari or on Saturdays only if you are in Tungan Malam, or on Mondays if you are in Nguroje market in Taraba State? We are giving you a platform that will give you an unrestricted access, a borderless market that sells 24/7 and that is done on one condition.’ That condition is that before you list your product, it must meet our health code. It must be fit for slaughter; our veterinary department will go and conduct a pre-slaughter evaluation on your animal, then it is listed. We are giving the merchants access, borderless market; we are linking the South to the North.
All these activities are happening around the country. Like I told you, merchants are coming all the way from Central African Republic to Mubi in Adamawa State, from Morocco through NIger to Maiaduwa in Katsina State, from Mauritania to Jigawa State; it is all being pulled by one major market, which is Lagos.
Lagos is the largest livestock market in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of beef consumption, according to the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture. This is a statistics that they gave us almost two years ago. Lagos State slaughters over 6,000 cows a day; that is approximately over 1.5 million kilogram of beef that gets consumed everyday in Lagos. This is a market that needs products from all over Africa, and that is why all these markets bring their livestock down to Lagos.
What we are saying here is, let us connect you because we are connecting the buyers in Lagos now. We have switched on Lagos now and before Christmas, we’re going to switch on the South East and South South to take advantage of the festive period. There are a lot of festivities in the South East and all over the country, so we want to do that for our customers that have been asking us when are you coming to the South East? We’re switching on the South East before the end of the year.
What informed the Livestock247.com idea?
We have been in the animal or livestock space for a couple of years. It came as a result of a simple idea. We actually wanted to solve the problem of cattle rustling which have been bedeviling our people up North. We wanted to use technology and we thought that there should be a way out.
If you travel abroad, there is what they call animal identification. You don’t move from one state to the other without knowing actually who owns what. So, we wanted to solve the hydra headed problem of cattle rustling and farmer-herdsmen crisis and all related issues.
We partnered with a major telecom firm in the country and invented, for the first time in this country, what is called animal identification and management solution which is a simple process of identifying, monitoring, managing and authenticating the ownership of livestock or animals.
We did that and it became very successful in terms of acceptance from the animal owners but of course we realize along the line that there is no enforcement, there is no legislation. Then we got into another phase of lobbying for legislation and we got some parliamentarians and they listened to us because the lack of animal identification system in Nigeria has a lot of short-comings.
Nigeria is a member of the World Organization of Animal Health alongside 180 other countries. We have signed all the conventions. Nigeria has also signed what we call the Pretoria Declaration of 2015. But still, before Livestock247.com, Nigeria never had a functional National Animal Identification system. That is why, before Livestock247.com, you could not have had the opportunity to export 1 kilogram of beef out of Nigeria.
We, as a people, are passionate about the home-grown solution, passionate about opening up our economy, diversification of the economy from a mono-economy via over-reliance on oil to other agro-based sectors.
We are aware that this is a country that has 43% of the cattle density in West Africa. This is a country that has the largest livestock market in Sub-Saharan Africa in Lagos. This is a country that has over 20 million cattle, based on the UN/FAO survey of 2013. But still, you could not export 1 kilogram of beef outside the country. This simple reason is responsible for the inability of global burger chains like McDonald’s, Subway, the Burger King, etc, to be in Lagos, a city of 23 million people. Based on the world population review, it (Lagos) is one of the top mega cities globally today; but you don’t have McDonald’s brand in Lagos!
You have it (McDonald’s) in Namibia, a country of just about two million people; you have to ask yourself, ‘why’? Why they (global fast food chains) are not here is that there is no functional animal identification system for their product. They don’t just come and start doing beef burgers while they don’t know how to trace or get their products.
By coming up with the animal identification system, we feel and know for sure that it is going to open up the system; it is going to create employment, it is going to bring in foreign investment.
People will come and set up factories, processing plants and start exporting (beef) legally. You cannot key into the World Trade Organization (WTO) for support and other benefits if you don’t have database as a country.
So completely, Nigeria is out of the mix of global beef trading. Look at a country like Somalia; based on the beef index of 2016, Somalia exported almost five million cattle to the Middle East and North African regions. But this is Nigeria, the giant of Africa. If you look at the index of 52 top beef producing countries, Nigeria is not mentioned. Countries like Gabon and Congo are listed, and it is simply because of the lack of a functional animal identification system in Nigeria.
That, simply speaking, was what inspired us; we said that we are a private sector driven people, we are in the technology space, let’s solve this problem. We started doing that; we created the animal identification system. We went through the legislation process and we realized that, that is public sector, it is slow and it is very cumbersome.
The process is very bureaucratic and that brought about our interaction with the ecosystem, which opened up our eyes to limitless opportunities and the disease issue came up. We see our people eating unhealthy livestock. I mean that people are killing themselves unknowingly and we said, ‘let’s just step in’. It is not about the money now; it is about solving the problem, so we said, ‘this is an opportunity, why can’t we use our technology, regulate the sector, create a platform and use technology to enhance commerce?’
The National Livestock Transformation Project of the Federal Government has just been launched and we said that the Federal Government is encouraging people to set up ranches, to go into livestock production, that is, intensification of livestock production. But there is no structured market for that. That is what informed this idea, and also based on the fact that the population of Nigeria will be around 450 million by 2050.
The current national herd, which is the total cattle in the country, puts animal population in the country, based on the 2013 index, at about 20 million. We are going to face a reality of waking up one day and you don’t have ponmo (cow skin) to eat because currently, the supply cannot meet our demand. With that, prices will go up, so we are structuring the system so that we can encourage people like you and me to actually go into intensification of livestock production.
About 95% of our national herd today is owned by pastoralists and small holder managers of livestock; so what we are currently trying to do is what we call ‘de-ethnicizing’ the entire livestock business. It is a big business; the cow does not understand any language so the same way that poultry business has gone mainstream, we want livestock production to go mainstream. By going mainstream, we are going to export, and we will diversify our economy.
We will link that rural woman in Delta State that is rearing her few goats. She can confidently stay in her village and rear her goats and list it on Livestock 247.com and the buyers in Lagos will buy her goat and she gets paid. That is what Livestock247.com is about and that is the major reason Livestock247 is in business.
When was this innovative online marketing platform launched?
The platform was officially launched to the media and to the world on November 6, 2018 at Ikeja, Lagos. We are currently delivering only in Lagos and are hoping to start the delivery in the South East and in Abuja before the end of the year.
Other major Nigerian cities will be coming up gradually and we are now in the process of bringing in a lot of merchants; you can go to the website www.livestock247.com and be an agent as a veterinary doctor. You can be a merchant if you have cattle. If you have goats, if you have sheep that you want to sell. You can be a haulage service provider if you have trucks that do take goods from one place to the other, and so on.
What is the overall marketing objective of setting up Livestock247.com?
If you go to our site and click on ‘About Us’ you will see that our vision is to mitigate the spread of zoonotic diseases; that is, animal-to-human diseases, in Africa. That is our vision and it is a very tall one, but in doing that, of course, we have to make things right from the technological perspective, from the commercial perspective and that is why we are bringing in the banks.
You know, a lot of financial inclusion will be coming into play. About 75% of transactions in almost all the cattle market in Nigeria is done by cash. So, we are now structured, we are now bringing in people to provide these services seamlessly.
The guys that just left my office now before you came in (for this interview) are bankers. The banks have been coming and we have some of the major banks that we have signed on as our partners and a lot of them are coming on board. Another meeting is going on there (pointing to another office) with Fintech company, and we are looking at how we can provide solutions that are customizable to our people in other areas.
How can you go to a cattle market without carrying cash? I mean, pay the merchant and he accepts payment from you and then gives you his product? That trust has to be created, so that is the need for that community and that platform.
Who are your competitors?
I can beat my chest and tell you that this is the first online livestock market in Nigeria. Of course, there could be people doing delivery of beef product. I mean, that is normal; people deliver beef but we are not in the beef delivery business. We are in the livestock and logistics business and we don’t own the inventory. We are not taking anybody out of his business; we are giving them a platform to transact their businesses.
Before Livestock247.com, people have been bringing cattle form the North in trucks. Before Livetsock247.com, buyers have been ordering for livestock and going to Oko-Oba to buy livestock. Before Livestock247.com, people have been going to the banks to pay for livestock, we are not interfering with that; but what we are doing now is to streamline and formalize the system.
What has been happening before Livestock247.com is that you have been buying livestock and you don’t know whether they are fit for slaughter or not. Before Livestock247.com, maybe you have to carry cash; before Livestock247.com, there were a lot of middlemen in the process that will be padding and you will get the animal very expensive.
Basically, what we are giving the market are three key things, convenience, affordable pricing and then quality. These are the three things that are sacrosanct to us.
How will you assess the market segment of Livestock247.com?
The platform is so user-friendly. For instance, if you want to buy a cow, a goat or a ram today, all you need to do is click on www.livestock247.com, then click on ‘buy’ and the system will lead you. You fill the form and an account will be created like any other e-Commerce site. An account will be created for you and then you will now select the kind of product that you want.
For now, we have only cattle, sheep and goats. If it is cattle that you want, you select ‘cattle’ and then you select the ‘weight range’ that you want based on your budget; and you can even indicate the sex of the livestock that you want. If, for instance, you want to do dairy, then you need female, if you are going for beef, you don’t really bother; it could be female or male. Then you can select the ‘breed’ that you want; do you want a particular breed, sex, color, and then you select your ‘delivery period’.
We have 48 hours, 1 week, 2 weeks and 3 weeks delivery periods. The interesting thing is that the longer your choice of delivery period the cheaper the livestock comes to you.
This make a lot of business sense especially to those with steady big orders, they can order 3 weeks ahead and get it rock bottom cheap. It also means one can order for 3 weeks delivery and also list on livestock247.com as a seller to sell to buyers demanding 48hour delivery make profit.
What type of technological tools are you deploying in driving the sales of your product online?
Currently we are working with some Fintech companies that are providing us the financial backend, just the same way when you are buying a flight ticket from any airline’s site and then you pay; they will take you through until you get to payment. You don’t really know the backend whether it is Paga or Paystar; there are a lot of Fintech companies that are providing that security now.
Nigeria has developed to that extent now that we are comfortable that you can pay online through the help of the Fintech companies. We have partnered with some Fintech companies that are providing that service so that we can concentrate on our core activities. They are the ones that take it up when you pay; of course in partnership with our banks. We have some banks that have entered into partnership with us on this project.
Can consumers get access to you via social media platforms?
Yes, you can follow us on Twitter @livestock247ng and on Instagram; it is also livestock247ng. We are on Facebook too, at livestock247.
What are challenges that you have encountered while using the technological platforms?
We launched the platform on November 6, but we have been on test mode for the past two months since August. Of course, all startups do have challenges. From recruitment to acceptability, the market is still at infant stage; it is something new, people are saying, ‘buying cow online, how possible is it?’
One thing that I want to add is that now we have a mobile app. We unveiled the android version of the app at the event. You can also download the Livestock247 app from android and the iOS version is also ready.
Virtually what we are giving you is a livestock market in your pocket. If you can’t go to Oko-Oba market, Oko-Oba can come to you.
And when you are buying on Livestock247.com, it is not as if it is Livestock247’s stock, no; you are buying from that customer that you normally go to at Oko-Oba market to buy from. The only difference now is that there is a system that makes sure that what you are buying has been checked by veterinary professionals. So, you have all those offerings at the tip of your finger and, of course, it comes with a lot of challenges. Acceptance is one big issue but we are lucky that at the moment, Nigeria has passed that stage of not being comfortable with e-Commerce.
We are all used to buying things from all these e-Commerce sites, like buying flight tickets on booking.com or hotel.com or whatever; we pay before we check in.
I mean, people are now comfortable but this is the first in the livestock sector because we are not talking about N1, 000 or N2, 000 payment. We are talking about a couple of thousands or hundreds of thousands. Sometimes, people are not sure but we are building the trust, we are moving closer to our people and to our market-base so that the acceptance is facilitated and it is quite encouraging, so far.
We also have a physical presence, our HQ here at 4th Floor, Valley View Plaza, 99 Opebi Road, Ikeja in Lagos is also a virtual livestock market. You can just walk in here, slide through the smart screen TV monitors or tablets, select the livestock you want, pay electronically via POS or internet banking and it will be delivered to your address of choice. We plan to open more virtual points of sales around Lagos in the months and years to come. This is all geared adding confidence to our buyers.
How are you coping with these challenges?
Life is all about challenges and so also is a business. For instance, if you are in the tech business you have challenges like down times and glitches here and there; that, to an e-Commerce site, is a major crisis.
We have a young tech team that is always up and doing. We normally try to ensure that a major crisis like server going down is fixed before it affects our operations. We also have issues like insurance. We are dealing with customers that have paid for a specific product based on a specification and we are facilitating the movement of that product between the seller and the buyer.
Anything can happen in the process; there could be an accident, there could be crisis or the delivery period could be delayed. As such, we are looking at partnering with insurance companies to come up with insurance policies to address that. At the moment there are currently no insurance products in the livestock sector; this is an opportunity for insurance companies to think about a product in that space because at the moment, there is none in existence that fits our model.
Internally, we have created an ecosystem that when you pay as a customer, we will pay the owner. But what we are doing currently in the process is that if anything happens, maybe there is an accident and your cow’s leg got broken or the horn got broken, we don’t deliver, we call you and tell you that there is a problem and ask you to give us another extra hour. We then look at the closest market to you and we get your specification and we deliver it to you and we say sorry to you for the little delay. As we move ahead, we are looking at insurance players to come up with products so that the sector could be fully insured and covered.
What are your prospects and the potentials of this idea?
Most of the goodwill messages that we had from industry stakeholders and veterinary professionals that attended our event clearly indicate that the future is massive. We have stumbled on something that has a massive future and that was why the theme of the launch was: ‘Technology Transforming the Livestock Sector’. We are so privileged and honored to be part of the team that is pioneering this initiative.
The future is so promising because we see a congregation of a lot of activities in the financial sector; I just talked about insurance, to data, to veterinary pharmaceutical services, etc. I mean, it is limitless and will also open up this lucrative sector. It 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.
So, we can’t quantify the magnitude of the impact that this business will bring to the industry and the country at large.
How are you accessing all your consumers, taking cognizance of their different segments and psychographics?

I am glad that you have asked this question because from our research like I have said earlier, Lagos is the largest market with the highest consumption of livestock in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lagos is the only city that I know of that when the meat gets finished during a party or any occasion, they will tell you that there is no food any more.
Lagosians are party people, Lagosians enjoy life, Lagos does not joke with providing luxury. When you see a panel beater that ekes out a living, when he is going out for launch to eat his Amala and Ewedu, you will discover that 80% of his food will be meat. So, this is a city that consumes livestock products massively.
Lagos is exponentially growing and it is going to hit the 50 million population mark in the next couple of years. So, the market is here; the traffic is here and it has been like this. All the cattle markets aggregate around Lagos.
The people up North also consume beef products but you cannot match it with the same magnitude and that is why this is where the consumption is thriving.
Fortunately, it is probably the way God has designed it because the people up North are into livestock production more than the people in the South and they don’t consume as much as people in the South. So, if the North consumes as much as Lagos, then there would not be enough for Lagos.
God in his infinite wisdom created it this way so that for the people up North, it is in their culture to rear animals as assets and there are various reasons for animal production. Some do it for cultural reasons, some do it for economic reasons; but basically it all boils down to whether you are doing it for cultural reasons or economic reasons. Someday, somehow, you are going to sell it off. You will then convert that animal into money whether you want to solve a problem, or you want to sponsor someone or you want to use it as a gift. It is so interesting that that is how the design is. One part of the country produces, another part of the country massively consumes.
Nowadays, though, we are also seeing an upsurge in livestock production in the South. A lot of people are investing in ranches; we have had series of meetings with companies that are setting up abattoirs around the South Western states, massive abattoirs, massive investments.
We are going to have a meeting again with two of such companies that are bringing experts from abroad that are setting up structures simply because they see the big picture and they see opportunities in the sector. They are setting up abattoirs with the aim of supplying the greater Lagos population and, of course, export as well.
Globally, according to the international livestock research institute, beef consumption in developed countries will be out paced by developing countries by the year 2030. Consumption in developing countries will be around 250 million metric tonnes per year by 2030 while that of developed countries will be around 100 and something metric tonnes.
What does that tell you? It is simply because in Europe and USA including some other developed countries, they have passed the stage of eating meat; they are now eating grass. They are doing healthy living but in the developing countries, we still consume meat because it is part of our culture.
The demand for meat is going up and unfortunately for Nigeria all our neighboring countries are developing countries. Currently we cannot satisfy our national demand and neighboring countries compliment what our local markets produce. In a situation where our neighbors also developing countries with rising demand, inevitably our supply will drop.
If you look at it, 70% of the livestock production comes from the North and about 30% comes from Burkina Faso, Mali and some other developing countries. So, with the growing population, there is high demand in these developing countries while our own demand is also increasing. That was why I said that one day, we will wake and discover that there is no meat in the market because we cannot meet our demand.
Apart from livestock production, one important aspect that we seem to have forgotten about is leather. When we say livestock, what comes into peoples’ mind is beef and milk. They have forgotten the fact that livestock leads to leather. All those shoes that you see, all those leather jackets that you see, all these seats cover are leather because they emanate from leather.
This country used to be one of the major producers of leather. What you see as Moroccan leather is actually Sokoto leather. They used to buy the goats in Sokoto and process it before selling it to Europe but now they have cross-bred our goats and they don’t even come to buy our goats again.
Now the problem is that the quality of our leather has been deprecating. We don’t have a system of taking care of our animals so that we can keep producing leather. The market for leather is bigger by far than the beef market.
So, these are all opportunities that Livestock247 wants to explore and that exploration will not be possible if we don’t structure, if we don’t encourage investors, financial players, people like you need to write on something like this, blow it open for people to know.
Livestock247 is also geared towards enlightening people and changing their perception to understand that when we say Agric, it doesn’t necessarily mean crop agriculture. There is another vital part of agriculture called livestock which involves beef, dairy and leather.
Who are your target audience?
Well, our business now is B2B; Business to Business, because we have already started discussions with most of the big suppliers like the big hotels, the big companies, the big shopping malls, all these global brands that are in Nigeria. Shoprite, Spar, all the five-star and the seven-star hotels that are in Lagos; we are also talking to most processing companies, that is, companies that have beef as raw material in a lot of their products. Before now, most of them do rely on suppliers but still if you ask them, it is not meeting their demands.
There are food chains in Lagos that are crying for solution, they don’t know how to solve this problem. It is erratic, the price is not constant, the supply is inconsistent; there is system, there is no process. We are looking for an opportunity to partner with them because we are going to be providing livestock as a service.
For instance, one of the big food chain was at the event and they said that they were happy to see our invention come alive because we have taken care of the health issue, we have taken care of logistics, and we have taken care of convenience. We have taken care of all the major things and probably what is left for us to sit down and talk about pricing and I told them that pricing is relative.
It is a factor of what do you want. What is your in-take, then we discuss with our sellers on the platform to say; we have Mr. X or company Y in Lagos that wants the supply of 50 goats everyday of this particular breed or 50 cows every month of this particular breed, of this particular age.
He wants it because he knows that we are going to do veterinary oversight. We are giving him quality. He wants it to be done this way and this is the price that he is willing to pay.
We sit down with you and ask you what your challenges are? In fact, we have a system of understanding and then we sign an agreement which leads to the supply of the products to you. We will ensure that when you pay, he gets paid and by so doing we can blow your brand, put your logo on our website to say if you go to this particular joint, you can be rest assured that what you are eating has been purchased at Livestock247.com and it is fit for slaughter. It will increase patronage of those brands, it will make people feel comfortable and it will open up their businesses; so we are looking forward to all these businesses.
Like I said earlier, we are doing B2B at the moment and, of course, a lot of people have been talking to us about meat sharing. Now, meat sharing is a massive business that is going on around. It is simply where five or ten friends meet in the office and say let’s buy a cow and share so that everyone has all the parts together. But it is done now on structure.
What we are looking forward to is to have a situation whereby we do meat sharing like a kind of a crowd funding system of doing it. 1,000 people buying at the same time but we make sure that you get what you paid for and what you are getting is processed. We don’t process but we are in partnership with a lot of those butcheries that are doing the butchering if you want it processed. If you want it processed, we have all those butcheries that have been listed on our platform, we push the traffic to them and they will process based on your need and then it is taken to you.
Importantly, one interesting thing that I really like is what our team is doing now. We are generating a database of even local butchers. We don’t want to leave them out because the strength of a system is determined by its weakest link.
We have butchers that have been traditionally butchers. They have been trained to slaughter. For instance, when you buy a goat now or you buy a ram and you want to do a picnic, you want to do a barbeque for your wife or for your son’s birthday, you may not be interested in how to slaughter a ram. We don’t want to tell you that you have to go to a particular butcher somewhere; but you can actually use our system and then we attach you to a butcher that is close to you because we have a database of the butchers.
Before we register them, they must be registered with their local butchery association. So, we are in discussions with Butchers Association of Nigeria, Lagos chapter. They will give us their authenticated membership list; we will train them on sterilization, on hygiene in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Veterinary Services. We will do the training so that we can do something like an Uber for butchers.
When you want a butcher in your community, you are in Ikeja; you want to slaughter your goat, then the system now provides that butcher, you are getting a butcher that is standardized, well trained, you know him and even if you don’t know him, the system knows him and you don’t even have to pay him. You pay online, the platform now pays the butcher and then he goes to your house, conducts his business in a professional manner, slaughters the animals and leaves your house in peace. These are all the chain reaction that we will see happening in the system.
Is this initiative pan-Nigeria or it is limited to only Lagos market?
Of course, it is a pan-African thing. During the event that we had, we had people that flew in from Ghana and what they demanded at the media event was for us to set up a structure in Ghana immediately. They said, this cannot wait, we have to come to Ghana; but we told them that this is a new company; we have to test our system very well. We are thinking big but we are starting small.
Our vision is to be in African countries as soon as possible but what we are doing now is that we have presence all over Nigeria in terms of sourcing. In terms of delivery, we have started delivering in Lagos for now for strategic reasons. Lagos is the biggest and if you can deliver in Lagos perfectly despite all the logistics problems, other ones, as they say, is cut and paste. But hopefully before the end of the year, we will start delivery in the South East and Abuja. Then as we move ahead we will then start activating other cities around the country.
What is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Livestock247.com?
Our USP, first of all, is quality; we are giving you fit-for-slaughter livestock, which is, key because we are now helping to mitigate the spread of animal-to-human diseases. You can sleep and be rest assured that you are buying animals that are fit for slaughter; certified by the Veterinary Council of Nigeria approved veterinary professionals.
We are also giving you convenience. If you can’t go to Oko-Oba market, for instance, Oko-Oba can come to you through us. You have one Mallam Seidu at Oko-Oba market that you always buy your goat from, you can still buy from him from the comfort of your office/home. Again, we are giving you price; affordability of pricing because we have a lot of sellers on our platform.
As you all know with so many supplies, you have stability of price. Negotiable prices because we can link you with the owner and we are taking off those middlemen that are not adding value to the system. Mark my word; middlemen that are not adding value. A butcher is adding value so he is not a middleman that is not adding value. An abattoir is a middleman that is adding value. A merchant or a trader is a middleman that is adding value but there are people that will be padding simply because they are in the right place and at the right time and you don’t know the system like they do; those are the people that we have taken off.
So, we are linking you directly; we are giving you quality, we are giving convenience and we are giving you pricing because we have the ability to take away most of these unnecessary padding and it opens up the system and makes it affordable.
Who are the promoters of this innovative online shopping platform?
Livestock247.com has a very unique setup in terms of ownership. Of course, it is a start-up but we have some very credible people in the society as board members. Our Board Chairman is Mrs. Amina Oyagbola. She was the lead promoter and invited other promoters to come out and incubate the idea.
She has an LL.B (Hons) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, an LL.M from Cambridge University, an MBA from Lancaster University Management School UK and has completed the Advanced Management Programme at INSEAD. She is a Chevening Scholar, a Chartered Fellow of CIPD UK and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management USA.
Mrs Oyagbola has over 30 years’ experience spanning legal consulting, banking and finance, oil and gas and telecommunications.
Amina Oyagbola was in MTN as an Executive Director, Human Resources and before then she was at Shell. She was also at UBA. She comes with over 30 years experience in corporate Nigeria. She is a member of the Institute of Directors. In fact, she is heading the Ethics Committee of the IOD.
We also have Mr. Ayodeji Adewumi, an interesting young man who is the founder and president of Jobberman, the job site. Ayodeji and his friends started jobberman from their dormitory in school! He is a young man that is so creative and he is part of the startup team.
And, of course, we have Mr. Muhammed Ibrahim, a certified accountant and a proficient entrepreneur that is very successful; he sits on the board of several companies in Nigeria.

We also have some tech people that are also part of the incubating team that are sitting on the board at the moment because of their expertise.
I am privileged to be the CEO of the company. My background was in Law. I have been a lawyer for close to 28 years now. I have been a serial entrepreneur; I sit on the board of companies. I have been in the manufacturing, aviation and Oil and Gas sector.
In the past decade, I have been in the tech industry and we have been developing programs and applications to solve critical problems for consumers and, of course, we have a very active management team that cuts across various departments.
Our Head of Quality Control is Dr. Adebayo Sopedu. He is a veterinary doctor; he has an M.Sc. in Virology and he is about to round off his PhD in Virology, which is the study of viruses. He is a veterinary doctor that is very passionate about curtailing the spread of zoonotic diseases.
We have people that are from the banking industry that have left to join us and they are handling business development.
We have young tech girls, some of them graduated some couple of years ago but they have backgrounds in finance, accounting, and so on.
This is just giving you a brief about the ownership and management of Livestock247.com and we believe that the future is bright.
What is your message to Nigerians about Livestock247.com platform?
The message is that a couple of years ago, a lot of us never gave e-Banking a chance in this country. We were saying it was not going to work in this country. But today, we are sending money via SMS. Again, a lot of our people didn’t give all the e-Commerce companies the opportunity but today, some of them are doing excellently well.
In fact, someone asked a question during the event while giving his goodwill message that really touched me. He was talking to the banking industry and he said that most of us that are sitting here, our children will grow up without knowing what a banking hall looks like.
I was reading something online and I saw a 27-year-old entrepreneur who was asking her mentor that her client gave her a cheque, and she didn’t know how to cash the cheque?
Truth is, we are living in a generation of exponential transformation and disruption. Things are happening, change is inevitable and Nigeria, we are supposed to take over Africa. The past was in Africa and the future of the world is still in Africa and Nigeria has to take the lead.
We have started this thing in Nigeria and we believe that there are going to be a lot of copycats, people are going to come on board, people are going to hear about it, people are going to clone it and do the same thing. But it is all good competition because the market is large enough.
What I want to tell Nigerians is to trust systems like this. We have moved pass the stage of ‘will this thing work?’ It is working; people are buying and they are getting their deliveries, they are getting services, they are getting products that have been certified by veterinary doctors and in so doing, you are helping to strengthen or building a Nigerian company that is 100% Nigerian.
It is proudly made in Nigeria; customized to solve our unique Nigerian problems and is about to take over Africa, and so we should be proud to support Livestock247.com by patronizing us.


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