Malawi’s Kalondolondo project a success on fertiliser subsidy

A 32 year old Martha Katanga, from Chikapa Village, Traditional Authority Govati in Mwanza district still has memories of last year’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) which are still fresh when she twisted her left arm during a fracas which occurred at Chidole Satellite Depot when she was trying to push herself through a crowd to access the farm input.

The soft-spoken Katanga said in the course of scrambling to access the farm input, somebody shoved her forcing the helpless woman to  fall down before people stepped on her arm.

“It was a day l will live to remember because instead of purchasing fertilizer, l got injured after twisting my left arm. When l recall what happened l do not have the courage to go at any selling point for fertilizer subsidy,” she said, while wiping her tears.

However, the 32-years old woman changed her tune on February 28th, 2013 during a Kalondolondo Programme FISP assessment results presented by COPRED for 2012-2013 season carried out in Mwanza district.

Jephter Mwanza ....Kalondolondo is satiafied with FISP in Chinkhwawa, Mwanza and Chiradzulu

Jephter Mwanza ….Kalondolondo is satiafied with FISP in Chinkhwawa, Mwanza and Chiradzulu

Martha told a gathering during the meeting which took place at Mwanza Motel that following Kalondolondo’s project there is a tremendous change the way FISP has been handled this year compared with last year.

“During the same Kalondolondo project meeting last year, we raised a number of issues that affected us in accessing the farm input, for instance, we lodged a complaint that many people failed to purchase the farm input despite spending a night at the market.

“Some people like me got injured in the course of scrambling to buy the farm input. But l can confirm to you that  this year things have gone smoothly and we have nothing to complain as far as accessing FISP was concerned,” she said , amid ululation from the congregation.

According to a COPRED (community based NGO)assessment which was presented by Program coordinator Reuben Billiat  there was nil congestion at selling points because of the newly initiated system by the government.

The assessment was carried out in thirteen Group Village Headmen in the areas of Traditional Authority Kanduku, Nthache and Govati.

Billiat said the listed villages purchased fertilizer at one particular day unlike in the past years where all surrounding villages were called to buy fertilizer at one day and that system was bringing in complications at the market leading to some beneficiaries like Martha got injured in the process.

Billiat also stressed that another success story in the 2012-2013 FISP in Mwanza district was Fertilizers were delivered of adequate amount in some of the market which was not the case during the previous growing season as people had to walk long distances in search of fertilizers.
“Maize and legume seeds were also delivered in insufficient amount. People right there in the communities are appreciating the measures of using village coupon receiving registers at the market reduced favoritism or corruption to nil,” he said.

He also said  people were satisfied  that the bag of fertilizer was purchased at recommended price of K500 this growing season unlike in the previous years where officials were demanding an additional K1500 to K2000 from poor farmers if they wanted to be quickly serviced.

Isolated issues

According to the report, there were some isolated issues especially at Chidole satellite depot when the conduct of sales person  community scored very badly because of  serving few people per day as he spent much time with his girlfriend and was closing for lunch at 10:00 Am and resume at 2:00Pm.

The salesman was also reported to be challenging the beneficiaries that he can fight with them.

“The beneficiaries were angry, with that behavior and as a result  the GVH declared to close the market and the matter reported to the Admarc supervisor the supervisor’s recommendation was that since has already started cannot be transferred to another market but there was no
change,” reads the report.

Chikhwawa

The Kalondolondo Programme FISP Assessment Results for December 2012-February 2013 presented by Blantyre Synod  Health and Development  Commission Governance Programme  revealed that  all  registered beneficiaries  received coupons  unlike in the previous year.

The report also stated that beneficiaries who couldn’t afford to buy inputs are now able to do so.

“There were also no problems regarding procurement, for instance, they were short lines at the Admarc as there was one village per day (Block system),” reads part of the assessment report.

According to the Governance Coordinator for Blantyre Synod Development Commission Gregory Mtemanyama, Chinkhwawa district has scored 85 per cent of FISP in 2012-2013 seasons.

In the assessment report, Mtemanyama illustrated that there were a few problems like beneficiaries managed to buy seeds but Urea was not available at the Admarc depot in the areas of Chambuluka, Twana and Mitole.

Chiradzulu

In Chiradzulu, according to Kalondolondo programme assessment on FISP which was conducted by CAVWOC, the district scored highly to the satisfaction of the beneficiaries.

CAVWOC Project Coordinator Lusayo Mwenifumbo said 46,900 people who benefited from the coupons managed to purchase the inputs unlike in the previous season when most of the people who received coupons did not had a chance to access the farm inputs.

“This year’s FISP had fewer challenges as compared to previous years as most of the beneficiaries bought fertilizer without facing any challenges. The village by village system of buying was very effective almost all people who were registered bought both types of fertilizers,” said Mwenifumbo.

Challenges

On some of the challenges, the reports  states that Some  communities were contributing money to give to the clerk in order to buy fertilizer first  ranging from MK 100 to MK 500.00, for instance at
Ntalika Mtamba,Chimenya, Ching’ombe,Mdzadzira, Ntchema,Sumani 1 and Sakwata.

It was also revealed that Some depots were opening  at 10:30 instead of 7:30 eg Nkalo.

Kalondolondo Project manager Jephter Mwanza said they were satisfied with this year FISP in the three districts of Chinkhwawa, Mwanza and Chiradzulu as most beneficiaries who were registered managed to buy the farm inputs without hurdles.

“We are impressed with the assessment from the three districts because no one slept at the market, no one has been beaten because of scrambling to buy fertilizer like in the previous seasons,” said
Mwanza.

Mwanza also said it was encouraging to note that VDC and chiefs made sure that missed names received their coupons.

He however lobbied government to improve capturing names of beneficiary since it was noted that most of the people were sharing a coupon

“Improve coordination among key players in the program like, Agriculture, Assembly, Admarc, Logistics,” said Mwanza.

Under the Kalondolondo Programme, districts are under scrutiny on how the programme went on last year.

Mwenifumbo being interviewed by Nyasa Times...Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Mwenifumbo being interviewed by Nyasa Times…Photo Jeromy Kadewere

We had no problems this year with FISP.....one of the beneficiaries in Chinkhwawa district...Photo Jeromy Kadewere

We had no problems this year with FISP…..one of the beneficiaries in Chinkhwawa district…Photo Jeromy Kadewere

Some of the participants listening attentively during a FISP meeting in Chiradzulu

Some of the participants listening attentively during a FISP meeting in Chiradzulu

One of awoman in Mwanza whose arm was twisted for scrambling for Farm inputs last year....Photo Jeromy Kadewere

One of awoman in Mwanza whose arm was twisted for scrambling for Farm inputs last year….Photo Jeromy Kadewere

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