FARM TO TABLE: GROUPE NUMBER ONE

INTERVIEWS

Founded in 1985 by Frank Demaeght, Groupe Number One has gradually grown over the decades and now produces most of the food it uses. Being the only Congolese agricultural, food processing and foodservice company with an international food safety certification Mining & Business met with Sana Lengema, the group’s financial auditor.

Mining & Business: What are the main services offered by your company?

Sana Lengema : By putting our resources to work for companies in the extractive industry Groupe Number One developed an expertise in remote site services. These services include catering, by sourcing the personnel and products needed to prepare and serve one or more meals per day. But also cleaning and laundry services for offices, hospitals and collective housing, as well as the maintenance of green spaces and waste management to contribute to a better quality of life in the remote we sites manage. We also offer the complete design and construction of accommodation and catering units ensuring comfort and safety. In Lubumbashi, we have two restaurants that suit any type of budget. Our flagship restaurant, Bush Camp, also offers catering services for corporate events, cocktails, buffets and wedding receptions. Last but not least, our butcher shop offers retail meat sale.

M&B: What is your company’s market share?

SL: The catering market in DRC is difficult to estimate since its major actors are not publicly traded companies. Therefore they are not required to publish their financial statements. But I can give you the names of our main clients. Since 2007 we have been working with the Anglo-Swiss company Glencore through its subsidiaries Mutanda Mining and Kamoto Copper Company. We also operate in the Ruashi mining concession for the Metorex group, as well as with NB Mining in Lubumbashi and Kinsevere. Since 2013 we have extended our operations to Goma in North Kivu.

M&B: What is the best your company has to offer compared to others working in this sector?

SL: Our competitive advantage comes from our vertical integration strategy based on our experience in the DRC and the high quality of our products and services, characterized by the implementation of infrastructures that ensure production, storage, transport and distribution at FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification 22000) certified standards. Thanks to two farms spread over 10,000 ha we grow several varieties of fruits and vegetables, raise laying hens and devote ourselves to cattle and pig production. Our animals are then transported to our own abattoir and our own deboning and meat processing units (the latter for charcuterie production). Among the edibles we produce and use you’ll find a wide variety of animal proteins: beef, pork, lamb, veal, poultry and fish. These products are then refined into various forms: boerewors, bacon, roasts, spare ribs, T-bone steaks … and with our own logistics, supply and cold chain they are then routed to the remote sites we manage. 84% of the products we use are produced or purchased locally. The imported 16% are mainly non-edible products.

M&B: And in the social field, what are your main initiatives?

SL: We recently organized a very successful agro-pastoral fair, but we are especially proud of our school created in 2014 near our one of our farms. We built the walls, the roof and take great care in what is being taught. We currently have 180 students and our teachers constantly benefit from foreign training. The school has an abundance of educational material: pedagogical books, educational games, computers… We didn’t stop at building a school, we also made sure the curriculum followed.

M&B: Thank you, Mr Lengema.

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