Malawi Government has been commended by UK Department for International Development (DFID) for instituting reforms that would make the Farm Input Subsidy Program (Fisp) more efficient and effective.
The reforms include privatisation of procurement and distribution of fertiliser and seeds under Fisp.
Head of DfID in Malawi, Jen Marshall, speaking during the 2014/15 FISP Evaluation Dissemination Workshop in Lilongwe on Thursday, said government needs to do more on reforms including in the transparency and efficiency of procurement and in the timeliness of payments.
“These reforms should help create fiscal space for government to prioritise other important areas for Malawi’s agricultural development and wider inclusive growth.
“The reforms are a step in the right direction, and we look forward to further discussion on some of the technical efficiency issues that have been raised repeatedly by the evidence, such as productivity, who is benefiting and exiting from the scheme to reach the most deserving productive poor farmers, and how to encourage greater diversification away from maize.”
The DiFD boss appealed to stakeholders to carefully implement the 2015/16 Fisp for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza announced last week that each farmer will have to contribute K3500 ($7) per bag of fertilizer, up from K500 in the 2015/16 growing season.
A 5kgs bag of maize seed will now be sold at K1000 ($2) from K150 in the previous years while legumes are no longer for free as farmers will have to pay K500. About 1.5 million farmers are expected to benefit from the program in the 2015/16 season.