The NutriOpt On-Site Adviser takes feed advice in Sudan to the next level


Insights from Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan.

With a production of over 100 million broilers per year, Sudan has a professional poultry sector set up. However, the poor quality and the broad variety in protein levels of local raw materials is a serious issue. But this is about to change completely with the use of an easy-to-use, handheld device called the NutriOpt On-Site Adviser.

The NutriOpt On-site Adviser provides a nutrition report directly to the user’s mobile phone. This allows me to send the report directly to the client by Whatsapp. This is very easy and user friendly.
Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan

We talk to Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan and distributor of veterinary medicines, vaccines, feed additives and diagnostic tools. Since 2017, he has been distributing Trouw Nutrition products and services for his clients (mostly poultry farms of all sizes) throughout Sudan. Most of his clients are poultry farms, ranging from small farms to big farms producing 10-12 million birds per year. “Sudan has long been beset by conflict but the times are changing. The current transition government in (North) Sudan is focusing on growth in the agriculture and livestock sectors by professionalising and improving production of milk and meat”, Mr. Ibrahim explains. Digitalisation is a prerequisite to bring agriculture to the next level. As animal nutrition is an important part of livestock production, it makes sense to start the digital revolution here. And this will have a big impact for the Sudanese farmers. Trouw Nutrition is doing just that.

Huge variety in protein levels

Sudanese farmers are using a lot of local raw materials for livestock feeding. Mr. Ibrahim: “The main issue associated with this is the quality. We use a Ground Nut Cake (GNC) as the main protein source for poultry diets. GNC is generally lacking some of the essential amino acids. In addition, GNC can differ greatly in the protein levels, depending on the area where the crop is grown. We are talking about a huge range between 40-52% in Crude Protein (CP) levels here. Other raw materials used are sorghum, where we experience the same quality and variety issues, depending on the area where it is grown. For example, sorghum that is grown in the centre of Sudan is poorer in protein than sorghum grown in Eastern Sudan. When we can analyse the raw materials better and faster, we can increase the feed quality, decide whether a diet needs more supplementation, and hence increase performance of the animals and profitability of the farms”.

With the use of the On-Site Adviser in Sudan we can now analyze feed ingredients in 5 minutes and use the information to create the best feed formulation for our clients. This is a night and day difference in the way we work and can serve our farmers.
Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan

Sample results: From days to 5 minutes

To better cope with the unpredictable quality and nutritional components of the local raw materials, it is key to test the feed ingredients to be able to formulate a good and optimum diet. But testing feed samples in Sudan is not easy. It is actually very difficult, explains Ibrahim. “We have to send samples to local labs or even to Masterlab in the Netherlands. You can imagine that this is a timely process. It can take up to 4 - 7 days to get the results back”. But this is history now. Ibrahim and his team have started using the NutriOpt On-site Adviser at the end of July 2020 to tackle all of the feed challenges, primarily the huge variety in protein levels. The On-site Adviser, developed by Trouw Nutrition, is a combination of a handheld NIR scanner, mobile application and connection to NutriOpt's Nutritional Database. Samples of feed ingredients can be measured on the spot and the insights help farmers optimise their ration.

Mr. Ibrahim explains: “This is such a big difference for us compared to the way we worked with feed samples before. Our technical team will go to farms with the On-site Adviser and make analyses on the farm. Sometimes, our customers come to visit our office and bring the samples. This depends on the customers. With the On-site Advisor it takes 5 minutes, depending on the network at the farm. We get the results real time and this tells us straight away what the nutritional content is, so we can use this information to make an optimum diet formulation. The On-site Adviser also helps in deciding if we can still use it for animal feed or whether it needs supplementation for example”.

“The On-site Adviser is a true magic box”

Mr. Ibrahim and his team have been using the On-site Adviser for a few months now and are very satisfied. “We are so happy with it that we actually call it a magic box in our team, because this technology allows us to take our business to the next level and  have greater clarity on the raw materials, especially GNC, sorghum, wheat bran and complete feed in the near future. We are more confident towards your clients and we feel a strong competitive advantage over other companies because we can give the best feed formulation and advice to our farmers, based on real time feed quality data. On top of that, the device is not complicated to use”, explains Mr. Ibrahim. “Our technical people got familiar with it straight away”. The On-site Adviser provides a report directly to the user’s mobile phone. “I see the results in the app on the phone connected to the On-site Advisor. The app is well-designed, simple, and you can easily look at the detail page for more information. I send the report directly to the client by WhatsApp”', Mr. Ibrahim explains.

The NutriOpt On-Site Adviser is a true magic box for us. The system is so easy and quick. We don’t have to send samples to external labs anymore. This is saving us a lot of money and time.
Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan

Potential for large animal feed market

The ambitions to further grow and to introduce Trouw Nutrition’s offerings to more farms in Sudan are high, and certainly realistic. “Our plan for 2021 is to further improve our service to poultry farmers and especially the larger farms, producing 10-12 million birds per year. It would be great to have the On-site Adviser available for these big poultry integrators (with their own feed mill) so they can use it themselves for testing raw materials. For the medium and smaller poultry farms, we will service them with our own On-site Adviser device and hope to increase the number of farms we can service, for both feed analysis as well as supplements.

Atec Al-Arag Trading is also planning to enter the large animal feeding market in Sudan. “We are now selling only pharmaceutical products and vaccines to the cattle and sheep market in our country. As this is a big market, there is huge potential to enter the feed business for cattle and sheep as well, and introduce them to the high quality premixes and supplements such as Sprayfo of Trouw Nutrition and the top notch feed analysis methods such as On-site Advisor”, says Mr. Ibrahim.

Sudanese farmers are interested in technology

The introduction of On-site Adviser to service the farmers in Sudan is one of the first steps towards more tech savvy farms in Sudan and other African countries. “Better feed quality and animal nutrition in general is key to make farms more efficient, better performing and more profitable. We will see great results in the coming months with our farmers. I am confident in the current generation of farmers and farm workers who are more educated and interested in technology than before, so the time is right to start the technology revolution here. By having the NutriOpt On-Site Adviser now we feel the leaders in our market and we definitely will add more magic boxes to our team to serve more poultry, cattle and sheep farmers with high quality feed advice”, Mr. Ibrahim concludes.

Sudanese farmers are now more educated and tech-savvy than before. With farms getting bigger and more professional, I think the time could not be more perfect to roll out more technological innovations in Sudan and the rest of Africa.
Mr. Omer Ibrahim, technical and sales manager at Atec Al-Arag Trading in (North) Sudan