Several people in Zambia have recently left their white-collar jobs to pursue entrepreneurial endeavours such as commercial farming.
Chileshe Muchindika-Ngwane, a 37-year-old Lusaka resident who is now a full-time farmer involved in livestock production and processing as well as vegetable and maize cultivation, is one of those who has done so.
Muchindika-Ngwane holds a degree in Human Resource (HR) Management with 15 years of work experience in an HR environment. She is now the Chief Executive Officer of Amakwataz Meat Products, a meat processing and retail company with outlets in Lusaka and surrounding towns.
“I resigned from my job as HR Manager in March this year because I wanted to invest my time in farming, something that I have always been passionate about. It is important for individuals to do the kind of work they like because only then can they realize their potential,” she said.
She revealed that the idea of running a meat processing company came about when she encountered challenges accessing a range of meat products for her retail stores. She saw the gap in the provision of the said products as a great opportunity to expand her product line through value addition.
“I underwent training in meat processing and what followed was the establishment of Amakwataz Meat Products. We are currently making a variety of processed meat products. The response has been overwhelming as evidenced from the sales,” Muchindika-Ngwane revealed.
Amakwataz Meat Products has also invested in livestock rearing to ensure a constant supply of meat for the meat processing business, Muchindika-Ngwane said, adding that the company is already running a piggery and keeps goats for commercial purposes.
She is hopeful that the rising demand for livestock products among the Zambian population will help propel businesses such as Amakwataz Meat Products to greater heights.
“As a company, our vision is to be a household name in Lusaka and beyond. Our goal for 2021 is to brand our products and increase our production to supply to more people,” said an elated Muchindika-Ngwane.
She further pointed out there are many opportunities in value addition with regard to agriculture and meat processing is one of those that has a lot of economic potential because of the vast market.
As a way of giving back to the community, Amakwataz Meat Products conducts free training in meat processing for youths and women in Lusaka. According to Muchindika-Ngwane, the idea is to empower them with skills to help them start their businesses.