Meet Michael Mwelwa; “I choose farming over depending on a salary”

I spent 12 years of my life working and just like a lot of people, I faced difficult situations in life. All I longed for was to break away from salary dependency and the worry of how I will survive tomorrow. However, thinking of a business idea, even farming can be difficult when you’re in Lusaka.

When I lost my job in 2013, I tried out entrepreneurship for the first time. I opened up a shawarma business in Kabwe. It started off well and at the time, I was selling shawarmas worth K800 a day. But, then I made a bad business decision and moved the business to Lusaka were I failed lamentably. I then sold off stuff trying to revamp the business but to no avail.

I learned two lessons you can apply in farming

1. Don’t start a business without a back up of finances to pay your bills. Start a business while you are working.

2. The next lesson and very important. When you start a business in one place, stay there. You can expand but don’t move.

Fortunately, I got a job in Mbala where I found farming opportunities that are so easy for anyone with the passion. Coming here, I found a place with nothing fancy to talk about and was paying less than I was used to. I thank God about what is so good about this place. I did my research and found some valuable information:

  • The land is so cheap
  • The land is so fertile
  • Good climate and good rainfall

I knew my dream to farm will happen here. I first bought a peace of land 25 hectares for 5000 🙂 I haven’t started working on it yet because it is virgin land and I need to work on it to plant beans, soya beans maybe some maize for the planting season starting November 2018.

Zambian farmer, Agriculture in Zambia

So, I went on to rent pieces of land. I have started off onions and tomato okra and soon to add cabbages. I’m currently doing my first rounds on 35 by 70 and 50 by 50 spaces respectively… The reason why I started with onions is because I spoke to people and did the math and the numbers make sense. My life has started over so it was not easy to part away with money for projects. I have two employees who water and weed the onion farm, but I also get people to do piece work. As we speak, I have identified a 2 hectare farm were I want to do my next round of onion.

There is so much potential for farming this side of Zambia and it’s so cheap for people with no money or exposure to work on there dreams. With that said, I would not want to have all the dreamers in Zambia to come here yet.


The biggest challenge I have is the usual start up challenges any person can face. Without start up capital, you can’t do much. This is why I’m working while building my dream. I’m not in urgent need of money, but there’s so much land that I can do so much more. However, I’m taking things one step at a time and hopefully one day, I’ll be sharing my story as a Zambian commercial farmer.

10 thoughts on “Meet Michael Mwelwa; “I choose farming over depending on a salary”

  1. That’s the way to go Michael, it is a good move that you have taken, keep that dream. With farming, you can never go wrong.

  2. That was a good and brave decision. The fear of failure is what causes most of to avoid venturing into such productive ventures.
    I have made a similar move and currently managing about 2,000 layers. Its a challenging but interesting venture .
    Weldone Michael,you have motivated me

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