Agribusiness is proving to be a fast money spinner in Malawi and beyond our borders. Mwereti Kanjo asks Grace Mhango, founder ofÃ‚Â Women in Agribusiness in the Sub-Saharan Africa Alliance (Wassa), board member of Malawi Seed Production Programme, proprietor of GWC Investments, director of PamodziÃ‚Â Investments and director of Trade 4 Africa for tips and tricks on amassing wealth through agribusiness.
What is the first thing women need to know about agribusiness?
You need to know the different businesses that form agribusiness. These are: farming, trading, research, extension work, warehousing, logistics (including transportation), financing, agro-dealership, processing, training, farm machinery leasing, among others.
The other thing that they need to know is how they can make their current agribusiness involvement profitable. For example, we have so many women extension workers but to date, there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t any privately owned extension worker service company. Yet there are so many private lawyers, private doctors and the like. That is why I am saying there are a lot of people already in agribusiness, but they do not realise it and they are not utilising their talent accordingly or they are not getting any return for their investment.
Women need to know which angle of agribusiness they belong to. Is it research, farming or any of the above? Once they pick their area, the next step is to look for information and associate themselves with women of similar businesses, be it in Malawi or across the region. The other key thing is to plan, plan and plan.
How do you approach buyers?
Always approach your buyer with confidence and with a lot of knowledge about the product being marketed. Do not show any desperation. The buyers take advantage of desperate people. Make sure you know and understand your buyer.
What mistakes should you avoid?
Avoid showing your ignorance about the product or the market. Never show desperation, avoid non-performance. Make sure you deliver the first time you are given an order. Avoid being a speculator.
What is the turnover rate?
Most of the agribusinesses have a turnover between 25 to 30 percent. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s definitely the best rate compared to the current banking rates. But when demand is high, the turnover can move to up to 50percent. Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Any advice for women who would like to go into farming?
Ã‚Â LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take agriculture as an investment platform, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s identify the best crops to start with so that they can make business sense.Ã‚Â The benefits of investing in farming are enormous.