Ross Africa, based in Zambia and the Ross distributor for Zambia and surrounding countries, recently hosted its first Customer Focus Team meeting in Lusaka. The four-day event covered presentations to both parent stock (PS) farmers and broiler growers. Supported by the Ross technical and sales team, the meeting attracted senior poultry managers from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Botswana, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

This was the first meeting for Ross customers in sub-Saharan Africa and provided focused bird management advice based on local conditions, including talks on respiratory diseases and nutrition based on local ingredients. The group was also updated on the Ross research and development program and global market developments. Interactive case studies were also provided, allowing the audience to break into smaller groups to investigate and report back on actual customer issues.      

The new Ross Africa broiler hatchery at Chainda, which opened in April, formed an important part of the event with everyone getting a guided tour of the state-of-the-art facility. Eventual capacity is intended to be over one million chicks per week. This is being complemented by new grandparent (GP) farms and a hatchery at Mazabuka which will increase overall capacity by 40 percent.

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Lindsay continued: “The new farms and hatcheries are part of a wider $17 million expansion plan from Ross Africa. However, all the work being undertaken is for the benefit of customers. Quality and capacity are all being increased and this event is a great chance to meet key customers and industry leaders from across Africa to not only pass information to them about the latest techniques but to gather information from them about their needs and concerns so we can ensure that we are fulfilling their requirements.”

The broiler session took place on the final day and covered optimizing chick performance, nutrition and administering vaccines when needed. As always a social element was included, the notable event being “Braai at Dam” literally “Barbeque at the Dam,” which marks the boundary of the Chainda Farm.

Aviagen’s regional technical manager for the Middle East and Africa Neil Clark commented: “This was a very successful event and showed the support for Ross products in a market that is expanding at a huge rate. We saw a lot of interest from Zambia in our website too following the event, demonstrating that people appreciate the wealth of information available.”