DPP to continue with JB’s farm loan facility- Minister

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.

Chiyembekeza:  Contradicts Goodall Gondwe
Chiyembekeza: Contradicts Goodall Gondwe

“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.

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