My name is Wisdom Bwanali and I am 28 years old. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land Management (Physical Planning) which I obtained from Mzuzu University in 2014.
I come from an agricultural family that is based in the border district of Mchinji, Malawi. The art of farming is one of the survival concepts that I learnt and practiced since I was 6 years old. Memories are still afresh of my late mother buying me a small hole and allocating me a small plot to plant my own maize.
Since I was very young, and probably before I was born some 28 years ago, our family farming has mainly been practiced on a subsistence level. In simple terms, we grow crops for food. I have come to realise, however, that my family has not benefited a lot from this faming activity, although my grandfather would be quick to argue that it was the same money he used to have go to the university.
This is true, but I feel that my family should have benefited more, for which I think the element of entrepreneurship was missing, in spite of the available land and resources.
After I finished my university studies, I did not get employed straight away. I stayed at home for two years. I had to do some odd jobs to support myself and from these savings, I opened up a farm on my family land.
In the 2014/2015 farming season I cultivated soya beans on a one-acre plot and harvested seven 50 kg bags. In the current 2015/2016 farming season I have cultivated soya beans on four acres of land and the signs for the harvest are good. I have plans to expand my farming activities on a larger scale in the 2016/2017 season.
I have, therefore, grown an interest and developed myself in soya cultivation. I am still not satisfied as my cultivation is on a small-scale basis and the profits are not much due to lack of proper markets.
You may be interested to know that in Malawi, soya cultivation has grown greatly as it can be sold at a good price with minimum inputs as compared to other crops. According to Kananji et al. (2013), the national production of soya beans over 10 years in Malawi has been growing at about at 4.6 % per year.
It has been estimated that there is an aggregate domestic demand of soya beans of 400,000 metric tonnes, which excludes potential export markets. It is against this background that I got motivated with the idea of soya seed multiplication so that I can exploit the available market and also to create jobs in my community.
In Mchinji, we have an agricultural extension office for Agricultural Research and Extension Trust (ARET). I contacted the local ARET office and found that the organisation has been advocating the idea of seed multiplication among smallholder farmers. I also found out that ARET has been promoting the concept of contract farming, where a supplier makes an agreement with a potential buyer.
What one has to do is just to register with ARET and you become their client. You agree on how much quantity you will produce and selling prices. ARET acts as a middleman to link you up to potential buyers. They also have extension workers who train and monitor you on the best practices to grow soya beans up to the stage of harvesting and sorting. Once you have produced good seed (after laboratory testing) you are certified as a seed supplier.
My main aim is to multiply certified soya seed to sell to seed companies, so that they could make more good quality seed available to soya producers. In the long run, the project will also incorporate local farmers in the seed multiplication industry to meet the expected increased demand. The following steps will be undertaken in order for this project to materialise:
- Register with Agricultural Research and Extension Trust;
- Contract agreement with potential buyer;
- Land lease (rent);
- Input procurement;
- Labour recruitment;
- Actual cultivation (harvesting, sorting, storing);
- Project monitoring;
- Supplying; and
- Project evaluation
At the local rate of $1 to MK713, the $5000 grant translates to MK3,56,500. Once I get the grant, most of the funds will be spent on registration with ARET (MK250,000), Seed Inspectors (300,000), land lease (MK120,000), labour (MK540,000), transportation (MK200,000), and purchasing of farm inputs (MK500,000), and running costs (MK200,000).
At the expected output of seven tonnes and selling price of MK800, I expect to earn MK5,760,000 with a projected profit of MK2,110,000. This project will run from August 2016 to August 2017.
I would measure my success in this project based on the following criteria:
Profit. Every business is done to make profit, and using this criterion I would know that I am benefiting from my business.
A growing customer base. When a large number of people seek your services it is just a sign that there is more demand for your products, which would translate to growth of my business.
Customer satisfaction. When buyers are not complaining with the standard of products you are supplying it means that the reputation of the business would grow, which would attract more customers.
Employee satisfaction. This is the core of any business and a happy customer means more production and more success.
Owner satisfaction. Lastly, you cannot continue doing something that you are not enjoying, and if the owner of a business is satisfied, it means that the objectives of the business are being fulfilled.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Wisdom Bwanali (Malawi) – wisdombwanali[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
This post is published as proposal #377 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.
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106 thoughts on “YAP Proposal #377: Soya seed multiplication (Wisdom Bwanali, Malawi)”
nice 1 broo
Thank you very much Emmanuel
Its nice one brother very encouraging. wish to see more from you.
Thanks very much Daniel I appreciate
Firstly, let me thank Mr. Bwanali for the great idea. Majority of graduates in Malawi always think of getting employed than being engaged in farming. The propensity has exacerbated unemployment levels.
Secondly, Malawi as agriculture based economy, crop diversification is paramount to economic development. Most Malawians consider tobacco as the only cash crop which is profitable. However, in the face of overwhelmingly falling of tobacco prices and climate change, Soya Beans can be a substitute commercial crop to tobacco. Soya beans can be added value for export just like tobacco. Environment implications of Soya beans are bearable compared to tobacco production.
I would say I am humbled with your comment. You have really hammered the nail on the head as to why this can be an alternative to tobacco. It is environmental friendly as its cultivation can can help improve soil fertility. Unlike tobacco, you dont need to cut down a tree to process it.
The guy has good vision indeed
I would be very happy if it comes to fruition of course
Sure boss, lets do this
This is a nice idea, I wish you all the best
Thank you very much
You are welcome Steve, let’s do this
Do you have available land to do this project
No, I currently do not have land to do this project, but as a starter I will lease land in the rural areas. In the ling run, i have plans to purchase my own farm.
How much capital do you have?
All the best
Honestly, I would not lie to that I have start up capital for now. With this opportunity, however, i know that my plans can succeed
Thank you, think big always!
Hey man I hope your dream of selling certified soya seeds will lead into a company that provides seeds to farmers and not you supplying companies.
Thank you Limbani for your wishes. My long term objective is indeed to have an established company to supply seeds to many famers
I hope you become successful in this initiative and all the best.
My question is that selling price for the seed established by the government?
Thank you for your question, ut me answer youn this way, the price I mentioned. In my blog is the average price most local seed multipliers get, you also agree with a buyer on the price of your commodity
This is a good development as our country is facing negative effects due to climate change & The main cash crop being tobacco facing challenges on the international market. Hence, resilient programs are crucial. Thank you my brother am proud seeing that am from Mchinji lots of respect. forward ever.
You are definitely right Gift and in times like these when our economy is struggling and jobs are scarce, we have to be very innovative to succeed
This is a great idea…I like all the best Mr W.Bwanali
Thank you you MacLean, I am encouraged
Well. That will be a great achievement. Wish you success in your proposal and your area of specialization is interesting considering Malawi’s current economic situation. Malawi needs to produce more, export more and import less. Hope you will also find some markets abroad. My advise is to consider risks and uncertainties in your business as well. No business runs smoothly so a farmer needs to be prepared all the time. This should be a learning curve to some Malawians who are simply staying put at home. They should be innovative and create job opportunities to others. In that way they will improve Malawi’s economy and livelihood of many people.
Well I would like to thank you Jackie for your wonderful advice, I think you are right to say we need to produce more for import and export less. In the long run, I am planning to exploit this market. Risks and uncertainties are always part of a business and I would work had to cushion my investment against such.
Firstly, let me thank Wisdom for the good development. Our country needs youth who can think and put into practice what’s in their mind. Wisdom has shown us that it is possible to develop our country if and only we change the mindset of our graduates thus from being end user to starter. Keep it up.
I am very encouraged and motivated by your comment Mike, indeed if we all could change our mindset to innovators rather than waiting for someone to employ us, we could change our economy a great deal
Seriously, this idea is what Malawi as a nation is lacking. I would want to thank Mr Bwanali for the boldness to venture into farming of soya. Bravo!!!
You inspire me Alex with your aggressiveness to making headway in the market. I would like to borrow a leaf from your book so that we can make a change together
Perhaps I would ask you the secret to your success, what do you manage to cope up with rusks and uncertainties
Its all about determination and self confidence. To succeed in life you need to take risks. Entrepreneurship is all about risk taking. I am encouraged and motivated by your bold step to start farming and I believe that if all young people would think this way obviously we can change our country Malawi.
That’s quite an encouragement, you some times one becomes afraid of taking risks because of uncertainties. I am determined to succeed however.
Patience I would say and self determination should your equipment. You should also believe in yourself that you can everything.
Indeed, patience is one principal i would gradly say is crucial to ones success
I thank God for the young upcoming entrepreneur. This is what Malawi as a Nation is lacking. We need people who will improve the ailing economy so far experienced in Malawi. I totally support the idea and I rally behind to see this come to pass.
Bravo Mr Bwanali
We are surely together in this Alex, and i am sure there are alot of briliant ideas out there as well. What we need is to implement them now, for if we wait for tomorrow we would have lost a lot
We need the mindset of many young people who do not believe in themselves by taking risks.
That is great bro!
Thank you sir for Zakaria for the support
The country need people like you.Bravo!
Thank you sir for your comment
Thanks to Zamwa General Dealers for the support
Bravo Mr Bwanali,
Thank you Mr Kaponda, together with innovative minds we can do more
We need the mindset of many young people who do not believe in themselves by taking risks.
Well I am taking one and I hope this initiative will take me to higher levels of success. I would however, still need to learn a lot from experienced people like you in principles of entrepreneurship
I like the idea.All the best Mr W.Bwanali
Thank you Tia for your encouragement, I am motivated to hear that
Nice,keep it up .Farming is real business
I am thankful for your encouragement sir
Good development, keep it up!!!
Thumbs up Mr Bwanali for the initiative taken. hope to learn alot from you
Thanks Amos that I inspire you, I hope to inspire more young people from this initiative
Good development, keep it up.
Good development, keep it up!
Good development, keep it up!
Thanks Vitu, I appreciate your encouragement
Good development, viable as well. Keep it up!
Good of you to say, but I have been thinking of starting this business for some time, i just lack start up capital. I am sure with this grant i can achieve my dreams
Good development, with time this has to be be scaled up! Keep it up sir.
You arebdefinately right, that’s my long term plan
Good development, with time this could be scaled up. Keep it up!
Yes, that’s my long term objective, to increase production and make more seed supplies
Good development, this definitely has to be scaled up. keep up the good work.
I’m inspired to venture into agro -business. Bravo Mr. Bwanali this is good an idea.
Thank you MacDonald, I am humbled to learn that I inspire you. Agripreneurship can be the key to success my man and i hope you start also.
That’s good wise bro, you will make it. Just focast what you are doing. Big up !!!,
Thank you Gift for that wonderful advice, I will not disappoint you.
Thanks once again
Have self confidence
Thank you Steve, I will not disappoint
This world needs youth of determination, destined and courage like you WISDOM
Yes you are right Steve, I see main trained minds just roving around waiting to get employed by someone. They have the capacity to do something creative and be successful. I hope to inspire people to venture into agripreneurship
What you are planning is inspiring to many youths Wisdom. Remain focused and determined towards seeing your entrepreneurship idea through. Am confident that soya beans cultivation is the best choice for you to achieve that.
Thank you Willard for such an inspiring advice. I am really fired ip
Nice idea Mr Bwanali…wish you all the best
Thank you Robert
This is inspiring to many young people. Thanks Wisdom; wishing you well as you are working to achieve your idea.
I am thankful for your comment
We are the leaders of today not tomorrow so take a risk today.
Yes if we don’t act now then we will live a difficult life tomorrow. As old adage goes “the past is for us to learn from and the future is for us to manage” we need to act now and be innovative, our country need us to be such, not waiting for some wonders to happen to you
Agriculture is the major source of revenue in Malawi….. Good project.
Indeed we need to invest more be innovative in this field to exploit the existing
Mr bwanali wish you all the best for having such great idea. i realy support you brother.
Thanks Daniel, you know I will be asking you a few tips
That’s good development.
Why is it that young people are afraid of taking risks in business?
great idea Wisdom, I 100% support this. All the best
Thank you Rhoda for your support
this is good Mr Bwanali…..we must not only rely on being employed….we can also employ people
If all of us started thinking that way, we would indeed have made a difference
Thank you Isaac
The more educated people take up farming the better it woyld be for our country. Thats the mostvlikely route to move from simple subsistence farming to a more productive commercial farming. Glad you arevdoing your part Wisdom.
Thank you Emmanuel, Indeed commercial farming can help us all forge a better Malawian economy