Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Lobin Lowe has announced termination of Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) and replaced it with another program the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) which will benefit 4.2 million farming households in the country.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe on Friday, Lowe said AIP aims to enable Malawi attain food security at household and national levels and reduce poverty.
“We have noted that only few people were benefitting from the previous program but the current programme is much better. We estimate that a farmer can harvest 32 bags of maize if well managed,” he said.
Each farming household will access two bags of fertilizer at K4, 495 each with a five kilogram certified seed at K2 000.
“Each family will receive 1 Urea 50 Kilogram bag, 1 NPK 50 Kilogram bag and one pack of seed,” Lowe said.
The minister said collectively, government will give out 213,955 Metric tonnes as well as 21,000 metric tonnes of Seeds.
“My ministry is now cleaning-up the database and making sure that correct National Identification numbers are entered against the right farming household heads.
“My appeal to all smallholder farmers with faulty IDs is that they should rectify the problem with Field Extension workers before commencement of the programme,” he said.
Lowe warned against abused the AIP, saying Lowe said the programme will involve a number of stakeholders such as Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Homeland Security, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Local Government, E-Government, Anti Corruption Bureau, Malawi Bureau of Standards, Civil Society Organizations, Farmer Organizations, Local leaders, Inputs Suppliers and farmers themselves.
“All these stakeholders will have to be empowered in a way to enable them support the implementation of the programme. There are specific roles that each player will play for the success of the programme. The Ministry of Agriculture will coordinate the implementation,” said Lowe.
Lowe said: “My Ministry, with support from the National Registration Bureau and E-Government, has developed an electronic system that will be used to enable farmers to procure fertiliser and maize seed from approved suppliers.
“The farmer will just go to the supplier with the national identity card and the supplier will scan the identity card using a smartphone and the farmer will select the input he or she wants to purchase”.
Fisp was introduced in 2005/2006 agricultural season, following severe food shortages in 2004/05. It had initial successes but its impact in later years was questioned.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :