Start a Business Selling Roasted or Boiled Maize

4 mins read

Budget: Ksh5000 or more.

You have seen them along busy footpaths and in market places. These people are very industrious, persistent and down to earth. We are talking about those who sell roasted or boiled maize along the roadside. With the economic hardship biting those on the lower end of the scale, many have resorted to surviving on simple foods such as roasted and boiled maize for lunch or as a snack to keep the stomach busy.

You can start this business and satisfy this need for simple and quick foods. It may not be a get rich quick business but is easy to start and operate. As they say, food will always sell, but only if it is well packaged and positioned.

roasted maize
Roasted Maize


To set up roasted and boiled maize business, first you need to identify a strategic location such as a busy street corner, trading centre or a busy bus terminus. The people you will target in this business are mostly those walking on foot, therefore, forget about vehicular traffic. Think about people walking.

You can set up your business in an open place, yard or roadside or ask a busy shop owner to allow you to set up shop next to their shop or business. You should come to a workable agreement with them.


Expect to pay Ksh100 to the county Government twice a week. Many times, county officers will walk around and collect this fee, and remember to keep the receipts well.

Maize Supplies

Many traders get their maize from Gikomba and Marikiti at 10/= each. The amount of maize to buy will depend on how much you sell. Most of the maize roasters buy green maize twice a week. Whenever there is scarcity, be ready to pay as much as Ksh17 or Ksh20, up from Ksh10.

Transport costs will vary but may be any amount between Ksh100 – Ksh200 depending on the amount of maize, means of transport and your location.


As indicated earlier, profits in this business are not those that will make you rich overnight. The target market is one that is very sensitive to price. In this regard, after boiling the maize or even roasting, the cob will sell for between Ksh20 – Ksh30, this also depends very much on your location. The advantage of roasted maize is that many sellers are able to sell bits by cutting smaller portions, hence getting more profit from a cob.

You can increase your daily profits by boiling and roasting, to carter for different tastes and preferences. Many sellers surveyed reported net profits of between Ksh250 – Ksh350 on the lower side and as high as Ksh1,200 per day, especially those selling roasted and boiled maize at the same time.


The obvious challenges in this business is lack of proper license regime and permanent operating location. Most of the sellers are in temporary locations which poses licensing challenges. Harassment by county and health officers is common because of this. Other challenges include frequent fluctuations in maize prices. Any shortage will make prices of green maize shoot up, thereby reducing the possible profits.

Consider setting up this business and expanding with time as you identify newer strategic locations. Start small and grow.


I am a web developer most of the time. I enjoy writing about online work, business, travel, and technology.

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