Ziwa Ranchers Ltd

This is the current report of Ziwa Ranchers from the time it was taken over by Mukwano Enterprises Ltd and Rwenzori Commodities Ltd. The earlier article about Ziwa Ranchers in the Daily Monitor under different management is in complete contrast to what Ziwa Ranchers is under its present leadership.

Performance Evaluation of Kiryana Ranch (ZIWA RANCHERS LTD)

We held discussions with the senior staff of Ziwa Ranch including ranch doctor before the guided tour. Mr. Fez is the resident Ranch Manager, while Mr. Iqbal, the Mukwano Group of Companies General Manager, regularly travels from Kampala to the ranch. We re-iterated our mission captured as monitoring and evaluation against the business plan that had been submitted during subleasing in 2005. We requested Ziwa to present to us the status quo and they went as follows:

  • Infrastructure
    A lot had been carried out on the infrastructure and more would still be undertaken so that accessibility and staff as well as animal welfare would reach the highest level.

  • Road network
    A 16 km boundary road along the eastern side had been graded properly. In addition, the internal road network, with the exception of some areas which were not worked on due to the rainy season, has been repaired nicely and we were later able to drive along them at between 60kmph and 100kmph.

  • Fencing
    The internal fencing is in good condition with the exception of the Kafu – Masindi stretch which the contractors who worked on the Masindi road destroyed. However, repair works were in progress and is expected to be completed by end of May 2013.

  • Housing
    All the houses taken over from ULI were rehabilitated and are in good condition. A further 4 more housing units for staff and other workers had been constructed. There were plans to add more housing units as the number off cattle increases requiring more employees.

ULI visitors, Seracen guard, ranch doctor and some senior staff of Ziwa Ranch

The standing total herd size was 2826 of cattle made up of Borans, Bonsmara, crosses of Bonsmara and Boran breeds and Ankole Zebu cattle crossed by Borans and Bonsmara breeds,as compared to 1,750 heads of cattle when we visited during September 2009. A big number of cattle had since been sold off.

The qualities of cattle were reportedly excellent as all husbandry measures as well as infrastructure were in place supported by an experienced veterinary doctor, Dr.Echoku. Furthermore, the goat population hard increased from about 500 in September 2009 to 878 now, with more births recorded almost everyday.

Record keeping, that had been computerized, was excellent and key to their success.

  • Nomads
    Nomads still continue to pose a big problem through theft of ranch cattle and goats, destruction of fencing and water facilities. The problem is further exacerbated because when nomads and their cattle are impounded and cases reported to the district authorities, at times, the matter is instead politicized. Furthermore, most nomads do not vaccinate nor practice tick control thus posing disease threats to ranch animals e.g. lumpy skin disease, foot and mouth disease, trypanasomiasis, East Coast fever, etc

  • Wild animals
    Wild animals mainly lions, leopards, hyenas and baboons as well as pythons and crocodiles are the main predators, on top of posing risks of attack to employees and their families.

Despite the challenges the ranch is facing, management is determined to realize its dream of developing the best beef (and later dairy) industry in Uganda using modern methods. Therefore, after several technical, financial and market studies, and after the company redeveloping its business plan for ranching at Kiryana, it is re-focusing its vision.

Investment Financing
The Company has intensified its efforts to source for investment partnerships towards the re-development of the ranch, and indicators show that required funding shall be available sooner than later through such efforts. It is believed that such investment partnerships would result into:

  • Availability of quality management professionals who can put in place the desired management systems.
  • Availability of the required resources to address the investment needs of the ranch.
  • Full capacity utilization of the ranch; which will have functional facilities.
Therefore, utmost government support and good faith is expected towards boosting the confidence of such potential investment partners in the ranching industry.

Immediate management objectives
As the Company makes arrangement for investment/financing and management partnerships with credible companies it is pursuing its management objectives as follows:

  1. Effective and efficient grazing of available ranch cattle during the period of investment partnership development.
  2. Developing reliable efficient and effective management policies and systems to serve the ranch until when investment arrangements can affect the status quo.
  3. Sustainable profitable animal production and multiplication towards the sustainability of the ranch operations and towards addressing the investment pre-conditions such as minimum required number of cattle.
  4. Eradication of pastoralism from the boundaries of the ranch until when investment arrangements are implemented to secure the ranch boundaries better and to utilize its resources optimally.
  5. Protection of the boundaries of the ranch during the period of investment partnership development.
  6. Protection of the lives of the ranch animals during the period of investment partnership development.
  7. Prevention and stoppage of cattle thefts and disappearances out of or within the ranch boundaries during the period of investment partnership development.
  8. Initiation and development of sustainable profitable micro- or small projects during the period of investment partnership development.
Further infrastructure improvements to the ranch
Upon receipt of the necessary funds, the company shall embark on the repairs of the remaining ranch infrastructure: the dips, revamping of the cattle loading bay and weighbridge, renovating of the remaining staff houses, construction of a paved milking yard, purchase of new equipment, motor vehicles, motor cycles, and repairs of the tractors and graders. Further improvement of road network shall continue.

In addition the water tank at the headquarters and troughs will be repaired together with the installation of new pumps at Jwamba and Kafu water stations. And two new dams are slated to be constructed at Katuntu and Kide section.

The fencing of the perimeter shall also be embarked on as soon as the ranch starts re-stocking the local breed.

Re-stocking of the ranch
Plans are underway to purchase pure and cross breed Boran in-calf heifers and bulls with genetic purity of the breed to ensure quality. Within this program, milkers shall be introduced in order to improve the cash flow position of the ranch from milk sales. Goats to be procured will be of high grade crosses. A total of 2000 in-calf heifers will be procured over a period of two (2) years, 67 breeding bulls, 1200 Mubende goats and 24 bucks. All these are to be locally sourced in Uganda and the suppliers have been identified.

The artificial insemination program
The AI program is also being revived with semen supplies from ABC Entebbe and South Africa to boost the breeding program. Within the planned restocking program and with due consideration of the required sales to meet the cash flow imperatives, the cattle population is projected to grow to over 12,000 heads of cattle over a period of 13 years. The goats, sheep and milk shall continue to be the source of quick cash generation to support the day today cash requirements.

Chicken farming
The chicken project shall be reactivated and strengthened by making own feeds and chicks to minimize costs.

Introduction of ranching complementary cropping
Recent soil tests carried out on the ranch indicate high fertility of the land to carry the following crops which shall boost further the cattle carrying capacity of the ranch and improved quality of animals due to better nutrition. The crops we intend to grow include the following: maize, soya beans, sun flower, rice and groundnuts, products of which have a ready market locally. These shall greatly boost the cash flow requirements of the ranch without interfering with the original business mission.

Ziwa requests Uganda Livestock Industries Limited to accord it a cordial understanding and recommend for support of the Government of the Republic of Uganda to enable the company acquire the necessary financing/investment arrangements which are not readily available in the local environment.

As regards to changes they intend to make from the previous business plan they were asked to write officially to ULI indicating the exact changes they intend to make, for study and/or approval before embarking on their intended project.

Guided tour: The guided tour lasted 8 hours and confirmed the following;

Infrastructure: Very good and confirmed as communicated and captured in the photographs

Road network. Excellent. We were driving at 60 – 100 kph

Fencing: Very good

Cattle herd and condition
This was the most impressive of all. The cattle population and condition were impressive. The cattle physical count however was 2,823 heads of cattle as indicated in the sheet. There were 10 adult cattle missing and an excess of 7 calves.
The quality of cattle is improving well and we noted that Ankole Zebu calves the cross breed products of Bonsmara/Boran bulls are very good.
The goats/sheep herd of reasonable quality increased to 878 as compared to 500 when we visited in September 2009.
Tag qualities are poor as the numbers wear off over a short period of time. Although the manufacturer is allegedly Kruse Ltd, the qualities are poor and not comparable to the company’s known products.

Challenges faced by the ranch
While we were unable to see other predators, crocodiles were found basking in the sun by the natural water bodies

We came across a small herd of Ankole cattle belonging to a nomad who was absent (see iPad picture). A Seracen security plus some ranch guards impounded and drove the cattle to a quarantine area of the ranch.


Overall assessment

(a) Ziwa Ranchers Ltd is very promising and we rated it excellent. It has the vision and determination to achieve its goal.
(b) Regular quarterly visits would be an incentive for them to even do more and more.