New Arab company will provide pivotal consultancy for Middle East markets
New Arab company will provide pivotal consultancy for Middle East markets
Information and advice for animal health companies working in the Middle East has sometimes been in short supply. Now a new Egypt-based consultancy Qvetech is hoping to fill that gap with data, regulatory updates and market potential guidance. Animal Pharm analyst Malcolm Flanagan takes a look at Qvetech.
The company’s chief executive Mohamed Salah says he has a clear vision about how the current dearth of information on animal health in the Middle East can be improved and the role his newly-founded consultancy Qvetech can play.
His approach has been forged by his experience as a former Zoetis executive for Egypt and the surrounding countries, as well as the fact regional demand for animal health products is growing fast as livestock production and human populations expand locally.
Speaking to Animal Pharm from his office in Cairo, Mr Salah said the animal health Industry is expanding steadily in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. This growth is being driven by governmental support, a strong desire to decrease the importation of animal health products and a need to increase local production where possible.
The problem is, as he sees it, is the dearth of accurate statistical data which allow international companies and local distributors to plan their business and to introduce production capabilities in the region.
“The Gulf region for example, has its specific animal and cultural needs. The camel sector is a very important animal in the Arabian Gulf, yet it is mostly out of the scope of animal health companies. At the same time, in the poultry and ruminant industry, prevalent diseases are different and related to the hot desert climatic conditions,” said Mr Salah.
“Such thing matters in our business. For local and international companies to work effectively in this region they need a complete understanding of what is happening on the ground. Even the targeted production goals are different. In the Gulf area, poultry producers target a chicken live weight of 1.2kgs before slaughter. This weight differs from the situation in developed markets, where chickens start marketing at 2.5kgs and more. These differences reflect on veterinary practices and market needs, and are also important as a success or failure factor in the region.”
Mr Salah has worked in animal health for the past 21 years, mainly with Zoetis. He has an MSc in poultry parasitology from Cairo University. He said his consultancy was established in Egypt in February this year.
His company’s aim is to work with animal health companies, poultry, ruminant and companion animal integrators in the Middle East and Africa. Specifically, his intention is to work with them in developing their businesses to be more effective and reach their target customers in the shortest, quickest and most economical way. He believes this can be achieved through establishing an accurate database of regional animal health information and developing the right plans and techniques with the correct partners in targeted markets.
His own experience meant he was often presented with difficulties in obtaining accurate information and updated data on which to base business strategies.
“I was often faced with limited official data, which was either old or missing some important details. I believe the private sector and professional companies should invest in this important asset for market development. Accurate information is the base for different stakeholders in the animal health business, and will help international companies to work efficiently in this region and help the local companies to serve their customers in a better way. Although our main office will be in Cairo, we are intending to open representative offices in Dubai and Saudi Arabia,” said Mr Salah.
“Egypt is a very big market in the animal health business in the Middle East and Africa. The importance of Egypt surpasses its market size as Egypt is considered as a main veterinary institutional center. More than 1,000 veterinarians graduate every year in Egypt and work in several markets in the Middle East and Africa. Dubai is a world class business and logistical hub.
“Dubai has excellent infrastructure which has made it a center point for multinational companies who seek to increase their penetration in regional markets. Having a Qvetech branch there makes it ideal for us to connect efficiently with companies working in our region. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest and most stable markets in the region. Saudi is a well-organized market and we need to work closer with customers in it to allow our partners to reach their goals.”
Mr Salah said Qvetech will be able to define, describe, and forecast the Middle East and African veterinary markets with respect to product, production technology, animal type, end user and region. Qvetech has already started to develop accurate market data for animal health companies. Egypt is the first market for which the company is building a specific data base. Other markets will follow.
“We will work with partners to develop their market penetration and increase their sales effectively and subsequently will follow the planned implementation. At the same time, we will strategically analyze micro markets in a single country with respect to individual growth trends, future prospects and contributions to the overall market. This will include details of the competitive landscape for market leaders,” said Mr Salah.
“In addition we can offer technical services for market expansion. Qvetech can develop product research locally, which will be required for regulatory support and for marketing purposes. Research will be prepared for customers through well-chosen research centers in each market and there will be well followed protocols.”
Qvetech aims to offer a full regulatory affairs service with preparation and submission of registration dossiers according to different country policies till they obtain a registration certificate.
It also intends to help animal health companies to reach out and employ talented people. Qvetech will build a database of Arab veterinary and business candidates and update it for this purpose. Finally, the company will provide both educational training programs covering different fields in the animal health business, and skills training with help of a team of trainers, outdoor professionals and field workers.
Qvetech will also launch its ALPITAR software application at the beginning of October 2017, which will offer a platform for veterinarians to reach any information regarding veterinary pharmaceuticals, biologicals and diagnostic businesses. Mr Salah believes this platform will support efficiently veterinarians and animal owners in the Middle East and Africa.
But what are the main opportunities for animal health companies in the Middle East?
Dr Salah said the first step is to understand regional cultures, the market trends and to adapt to them. After choosing the right product, it is important to offer training and technical services to animal health companies to ensure success.
Changing market trends are not easy to follow in the Middle East and Africa and brand loyalty is at a premium. A veterinary product can be very popular over a period of many years in the region and clients will develop strong support for the product.
In Africa, growth is driven by population increase and modernization of the animal health industry. This will allow the huge population of livestock animals in Africa to receive a higher quality of veterinary services and products. Mr Salah said: “The growth of poultry industry in Africa is remarkable, and the poultry industry has already started to modernize and is well organized.”
“In the Gulf, there are some economic constrains due to the oil price drop, while on the other hand the animal health industry is still growing on protein production side. In the companion animal business, it differs from market to market,” he added.
“There are two big animal health exhibitions coming up in 2018. One in Abu Dhabi (VIVME) and the other in Dubai (VETME). VIVME will occur for only the second time. The first VIVME was successful last year. However, some comments pointed to the size of the exhibition and the limited number of attending companies. This is normal at the start of a new regional event and we expect the next VIVME to be more successful, attracting more companies and customers.
“Regarding the long-standing Dubai event VETME, it is a successful local event, which attracts customers from some Gulf markets. The scope of both exhibitions is different, and each one suits different type of exhibitors. The Qvetech team will be attending both exhibitions early next year.”
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