Nyama’s World: Modern meat processing factory

Hussein A. Jakhura, alongside his son, started Malawi-based Nyama World in 2009 and focused on processing beef and goat meat for sale to the domestic market through its own outlets. Today, it operates across the complete livestock value chain: breeding, rearing and feedlot farming, processing and deboning, and selling beef and goat meat for the local and export markets. Jeanette Clark speaks to Jakhura about vertically integrated growth and unique distribution strategies.

A family of entrepreneurs
The Jakhura family, fourth-generation Malawians, has always been involved in business. Before cattle rearing and meat processing became their focus, they were involved in commodity trading, flour milling and the sale of high-protein foods.

Between 2007 and 2009, the family settled temporarily in Dubai. It is here that Jakhura was inspired by the book Blue Ocean Strategy. Written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, it concentrates on the importance of differentiation in a saturated market. It got him thinking, especially when he realised there was quite a demand from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for quality meat. The idea for Nyama World was born.

“In Malawi, there were some meat businesses. People have, for example, always bought and sold beef and goat meat, but there was no export-certified modern slaughter line and abattoir in operation. Our idea, to make it state-of-the-art, was unique,” says Jakhura.

The business was registered and the family set up a small factory for processing meat, adding outlet stores from where the company could sell beef and goat meat. Occasionally, when they could find farmers who reared and slaughtered in line with the family’s religious beliefs, it would be added to the product list. However, the quality of the beef was not what they wanted.

Importing a breed
Nyama World conducted research to find the breed of cattle to elevate the quality. “We settled on Bonsmara, the South African breed. In our research, we found that not only was it the best breed for quality, but also for commercial viability,” he explains.

In 2013, the company received US$300,000 from the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which was used to train farmers and start a breeding programme in Malawi; first through artificial insemination with imported Bonsmara semen, and later by bringing stud bulls into the country.

Nyama World then got another grant of $750,000 from the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund to assist in expanding the business to cover a bigger part of the value chain: from feedlot to factory.

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