LUSAKA – WHILE most people may find problems daunting; not so with Zambeef non-executive director Enala Lyson Tembo-Mwase, the University of Zambia (UNZA) deputy vice- chancellor and biologist who is always eager for the opportunity to find solutions to them instead.
“What has really motivated me is my interest to look for solutions, and in this case biological solutions. And my focus has always been to look for environmentally friendly solutions,” says the professor.
Prof Mwase is an experienced biologist with close to 36 years of specialisation in animal parasites, and lecturing experience with the School of Veterinary to her name. She worked with the Ministry of Agriculture as a research scientist at the Central Veterinary Institute for five years before opting for a career in academia. She later joined the university as a lecturer moving up through the ranks to associate professor in parasitology entomology, a branch of science that studies insects, and finally deputy vice chancellor in 2013.
“As an academician you have to do teaching and research. I’ve been working on ticks and tick-borne diseases for quite a while during my progression in my career,” she says.
Family remains an important aspect of life for Prof Mwase, who is a mother of five and a grandmother to eight.
“To some extent, I am a workaholic; as an academic the only way you can progress is through research, and I always had to find time to research and family; they’ve always supported me but they understood my career, so they’ve been very, very supportive,” she confesses.
In her free time, Prof Mwase loves to farm as a way of relaxing, commuting to her small holding when opportunity presents itself.
“I love farming; both crops and livestock. Although there is not much going on, it lightens my spirit. It’s not completely out of my way, working with Zambeef, I can see a lot of areas that are really talking to my interest in life,” she says when asked about how this tied in with her appointment to Zambeef’s board.
“I see Zambeef as an entity that is going to grow even more than it has done. I’m quite excited actually to be on the board because I’m sure from my angle as an academician, as a researcher, I’m sure we’ll be able to see some new ideas that will set the Zambeef progression even higher,” she notes.
“Zambeef for a long time has been a source of meat for my home; when you go to Zambeef, you’d get almost everything you want; the actual beef, sausages, milk; It’s a name that is known in the home.”
She further jests on how most children would ask if she was going to Zambeef every time she set out to buy meat in bulk.
“We don’t have many places where you can get meat in bulk at a reasonable price,” she notes.
The environment is very close to the prof’s heart and believes very much in safeguarding the natural environment.
“I am a biologist with a bias to ecology and the environment, so, normally I look at things from an environmentally-friendly kind of approach and I know Zambeef is very interested in the social and environmental aspects of running business, so I believe in that area,” she adds.
Prof Mwase points to Zambeef’s business model as one of the reasons for its success noting that the company has done very well in helping drive the country’s agriculture agenda forward by demonstrating and that it is possible to make it work.
“Zambeef, as a local company, has brought confidence in a lot of people. It is quite amazing how it has really grown. From the time we knew it, it was associated with beef, and then later on, we started hearing about Mastepork, Zam Chick and the leather industry also coming in,” she says.
“And I’m sure there’s still more room for expansion, so that has really impressed me a lot and it’s like there’s no going backwards but forward and I’m sure there will be more products coming on board.”
Prof Mwase shares Zambeef’s philosophy of hard work stating that “there’s nothing that can beat hard work because without hard work you can never get anything done both at a personal level, community, family, society and the nation. Hard work goes hand in hand with time management. Sometimes you’ll look like you’re neglecting your family but you’d like to get things done so that at the end of the day everybody enjoys the fruit of the work.”
She sees an even brighter future for Zambeef.
“Zambeef right now is the number one food producer in terms of proteins in this country. I take Zambeef as being the best in Zambia and it’s going to be the best in the region not long from now,” she says. LANGMEAD & BAKER