About three times every month, businessperson James Likhomo goes to Mozambique to buy maize to supply in the country.
He says he does that because the commodity is cheaper in Mozambique than it is in the country, and as a businessperson, it makes business sense that way, as the profits are then enhanced.
On a good day, he can sell up to 15 bags of maize, and he believes the business has assisted him in so many ways.
“I am from Mulanje, so if I am living here in Blantyre comfortably it means things are going well. I can pay school fees for my children, feed my family and provide many other things for the family with the profits from this business,” he says.
Asked on how his business is faring, Likhomo pointed out that the scarcity or abundance of maize determines how well the business goes or not.
“When people are harvesting, as the case is now, the maize does not sell much because almost everyone has their own. Prices are also different depending on the scarcity. When the maize is scarce, the prices tend to be higher than when it is available. For instance, we are now selling at K100 per kilogramme, and for a 50 kilogramme bag, people are buying it for K5 000 (about $11), because people still have maize,” he said.
Likhomo has been in the maize business for a while now, since five years ago. He worked for Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) for nine months before he decided to start his own business.
He says he started by opening a grocery shop, and after five months, he closed it down to venture into fish business.
“For two years I sold fish and maize at the same time. I would go to Mangochi and Monkey Bay to get fish supplies to sell them here; but then I realised it was giving me a hard time and I stopped the fish business to concentrate on maize,” he recalls.
He observed that most people in the country always think of securing employment when they complete their education.
“Not all of us think of becoming entrepreneurs when we complete our education, but I believe we need more entrepreneurs in the country. I worked for awhile, but with time I decided to become a businessperson. Business may or may not work, but life is all about taking risks, because even in employment, one may be fired,” he observes.
His advice to people who would like to go into entrepreneurship is that they should go on and be educated first so that they can build self-confidence and then start a business thereafter.