This might sound crazy, but it is a true scenario of how some clever people make full use of seasonal opportunities to create wealth for themselves.
In December and January, at the onset of rains, the country is blessed with a lot of edible wild plants including mushroom.
It is also the same period the country gets abundant flying ants (ngumbi), a delicacy many Malawians enjoy as relish in their homes.
In Lilongwe, some people have taken advantage of the abundance of ngumbi to make a kill during the months of December and January.
One such man is Mitoni Tchale. He lives in Mitundu, about 50 kilometres from the capital, Lilongwe.
He managed to acquire a plot last year at Mitundu Trading Centre from the sales of ngumbi.
Mitoni says he made about K 80 000 selling ngumbi last year alone and used K60 000 to buy a plot.
Despite being in his early 30s, Tchale, who looks younger than his age, says he never went to school, but in ngumbi he has found rare gold that he manages to send all his three kids to good schools.
“It might look like a simple business, but I make a lot of money. If I order ngumbi with K10 000, on a good day, I make K18 000. This to me is the best business in town. Even though I sometimes make fewer sales, but at least I have never experienced any losses since I started,” boasted Tchale.
He plans to build a house this year once the selling season is over and invest the remainder of the money in cassava business.
Tchale foresees making K100 000 out of the sales of ngumbi, thanks to the devaluation of the kwacha.
“It is easier to plan when you are in ngumbi business because you know between December and January I will engage in ngumbi selling as my main business,” he said.
He claims that his customers are of all classes and sometimes some senior officials in government invite him in their offices to buy the delicacy.
Concurring with Tchale on the ngumbi business is Maganizo Majawa. He is a clinical officer at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and a former Malosa Secondary School student. Majawa reveals that his school fees came from ngumbi sales.
“I know how ngumbi can help people change their lives. I have true testimonies of how ngumbi can transform peoples’ lives. My school fees came from ngumbi that is why I make sure that I support any person selling ngumbi by buying some for my home,” said Majawa, as he ate some placed in a plastic bag.
Majawa advises people who look down upon ngumbi traders to start respecting them at once because this is the business that has changed many people’s lives including his.