Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza on has contradicted Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe who said government has discontinued the programme started by the People’s Party (PP) administration of former president Joyce Banda on Farm Input Loan Programme (FILP) which was run parallel to the national Farm Inputs Subsidy Program (FISP).
Gondwe told parliament that the facility was stopped because of the numerous legal and financial problems discovered in the programme.
But Chiyembekeza on Thursday told Parliament that the Filp will resume at the end of this month owing to successful repayment of loans by beneficiaries.
“Government is considering to resume the programme, but doing so will depend on how much loans have been repaid,” Chiyembekeza said in parliament.
He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament (MP) for Mzimba Solora, Jacob Hara.
The FILP was a loan programme introduced by the previous administration to assist farmers who were not targeted through FISP but were assessed to have capacity to get the farm inputs on loan. To secure the loans, farmers were advised to organize themselves into clubs.
Gondwe told Mps that the “complexity of the legal and financial problems that are outstanding” in Flip led to the suspension of the programme.
He said so far Malawi Rural Development Fund (MARDEF) has been tasked with collecting repayments from the concerned farmers.
“It is expected that a total of MK11.1 billion will be collected from the 32,500 metric tons distributed. So far, a total of MK3.1 billion has been collected and these proceeds shall be used to repay part of the outstanding bills with the suppliers and distributors,” said Gondwe.
The new administration has since committed to continue with FISP ‘in all its aspects’ in a bid to continue with its food self-sufficient drive.