Pig and bicycle opens up maize business for couple

A pig purchase two years ago, has opened up an avalanche of business opportunities for David, a peasant farmer in Mount Elgon who together with his wife are now involved in the business of buying and selling maize.

It all started two years ago when they constructed a pig pen and later bought one piglet. After four months they sold the pig for Sh4500 with Sh3,000 going to the purchase of a bicycle.
It is the bicycle that has become the mode of transport for their business venture which they indulged in with the remaining Sh1500 being used to buy their first tranche of maize.

The couple buys maize from wholesalers which they then resell to locals at a higher price.
“I have some friends who have been doing this for some time now,” said David. “So, I asked them the price at which they buy and sell maize in different locations, and I became interested in doing this too.”

Almost daily, David will ride his new bike to a market near Mount Elgon, about one and a half hours from his home, and buy as many 2kg tins of maize as he can afford at 70 Shillings per tin. He then rides home to sell them at 75 Shillings per tin.

“I’m happy because sometimes when David brings this maize, we are able to keep some of it, and we can use it for food. I am also happy because some of the profit goes to the school fees of the children,” Zipporah said. A month after buying the bicycle, David is now investing up to Sh2,800 a day in maize, up from the 1,500 Shillings he began with. He is currently able to buy 40 tins, making a profit of Sh200 per day.

“For four days of the week, I use the profits to pay school fees and to buy household commodities for my family. The next three days, I save the profit to increase the amount of maize I am able to buy next week,” David says.

“The business is good, but it still has some challenges,” Zipporah says. “Sometimes he goes and buys 40 tins, but when he returns, he measures the maize out, and it weighs less than 80kgs.”
“The reason why this happens is some of the people I have bought from aren’t trustworthy, “ David explains. “They will dent the bottom of the 2kg tin they measure with to make it seem full when it’s not. Now I’ve learned from my experience, so when I go, I go with my own tin to measure.”

David and Zipporah hope to continue the business on into the planting season. “I expect I’ll end up farming a bit more this year because David will be committed to the work and not the farm,” Zipporah says. “It’s ok though because he does this to provide for us.”

“I expect to continue increasing the amount I buy because the more I buy, the more profit I get. In the future, I hope to be buying even 160kgs a day,” said David.