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Investment platform Livestock Wealth adds e-commerce service

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 15 Oct 2020
The grass-fed beef is delivered via Livestock Wealth refrigerated truck.
The grass-fed beef is delivered via Livestock Wealth refrigerated truck.

Livestock Wealth has expanded its offerings to add the Farmers Club Meat Box, a new e-commerce service that allows customers to purchase and pay for grass-fed beef via its online platforms.

Developed by KwaZulu-Natal-born electro-mechanical engineer Ntuthuko Shezi, in 2015, the crowd farming platform offers people with no access to land, time or skills the opportunity to own livestock within a professionally managed farming operation.

Through the Web and mobile application, investors are able to invest their money in cows rather than in unit trusts, shares or exchange-traded funds.

The investment platform has a nationwide partnership network of farmers and butcheries which enable it to distribute beef to some of SA’s retailers, including Woolworths, as part of its Grassbeef service.

The Farmers Club Meat Box service allows Livestock Wealth to sell beef coming directly from the farm, to the butchery and then delivered to the customer’s home for “up to 20% cheaper than other retailers”, according to the company.

By connecting customers directly to the farmers, via its app and Web site, Farmers Club helps to achieve savings by removing the middleman – the retailer in this case.

Shezi, founder and cow executive officer of Livestock Wealth, says this new strategy is part of its mission to create a win-win partnership between farmers, butcheries, investors and now, the customers.

“When joining the Farmers Club, customers get healthy free-range meat delivered from as little as R95 per kg, which is up to 20% cheaper than similar retailers.

“Traditional retailers often have to discard plenty of unsold meat, and as a result, are forced to increase their prices to cover the losses. By buying directly from the farmer, you remove the middleman and the cost of food waste, which saves you money,” explains Shezi.

Farmers Club Meat Box is being piloted in Gauteng due to its smaller geographic size, with plans to open in Durban and Cape Town in the first quarter of 2021.

The development of Livestock Wealth Grassbeef has been in the works since 2017, when Livestock Wealth won the grand prize of R1.3 million at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards.

Since then, the investment platform has been featured in a TED Talk called "This crowd-farming stock market has legs", and started to supply major retailers and has been a significant producer of free-range meat in SA.

Farmers Club Meat Box is available through a monthly subscription, which starts from R399, or R499 for an annual subscription for a 3.52kg braai box.

“The meat is delivered by Livestock Wealth refrigerated truck. We have received a lot of requests from potential delivery partners which we will open up in the near future. The requirement is refrigeration so that the cold chain is not broken,” notes Shezi.

A registered credit provider with the National Credit Regulator, Livestock Wealth says it has helped over 4 000 people to invest in tangible, growing assets and has paid out over R10 million in profits. It now has almost R100 million in assets under management across different products.

Since inception, the investment company has expanded its offerings to include an array of agricultural assets that can also be owned by potential investors, including sugar cane plants, macadamia trees and a shared farming project.