After shifting from poultry business which was registering low profits, Pork Masters co-manager Winnie Salama said the company decided to enter the pork business . In an interview on Wednesday, Salama who co-manages Pork Masters with her husband Odwa, said the couple chose to sieze the opportunity although there were challenges.
“Due to heavy competition in poultry business and a subsequent decline in profit margins, we decided to start selling pork in November 2011. We discovered that there were no proper pork butcheries in town and restaurants, so we decided to undertake the opportunity.
Capital was not a problem because we just shifted our resources from poultry to pork. We have a pork butchery. We also produce pork sausages and run a restaurant at Ginnery Corner. The business picked up well but it has experienced a fair share of problems.
“Initially we were relying solely on others to supply pork but then we had problems with quality and reliability in terms of delivery. We then set up a pig farm which currently has about 128 pigs valued at around K4.5 million (about $11 250). We currently get about half from our own farm and the other from our suppliers. We intend to stock about 1 000 pigs because we are being overwhelmed by the current demand. We sell about 600kg of pork and about 45kg of pork sausages per week to individual customers and organisations,” said Salama.
She added that the restaurant serves people around Ginnery Corner but they are looking for a selling space in Blantyre CBD. She, however ,complained that finding a proper place is a problem.
“Business has been tight between January and early March especially in the butchery with sales going down by about 25 percent. However, business has now started to pick up. We have also been affected by the rise in the cost of goods and the hike in interest rates. We have a bank business loan but monthly payments have almost doubled and this is affecting the profitability of the business,” said Salama.
She, however, said that they are currently not thinking of expanding beyond Blantyre City because they would like to maintain quality of their products, services and the image of their brand.
Salama advised other entrepreneurs to take opportunities head on if they are to progress, arguing Pork Masters would not have been where it is now if they had not taken the challenges and risks associated with the business.