Government has admitted that farm input programme has delayed this year and heaped the blame on suppliers and marketers.
Minister of Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza however said the delay will not affect the programme.
“We will roll out next week, we were disappointed by our suppliers and marketers,” said the minister in an interview.
The programme is tailored and benefits subsistence farmers and each pack contains fertilizer, seeds and legumes costing the farmer K3000 up from K500.
The programme has widely been applauded by donors who attribute the country’s food security to the farm in put programme although the World Bank has advised the government to start thinking of exit means as the programme is now pegged at K80b a year, a staggering figure in an economic crisis.
Chiyembekeza said the number of beneficiaries has been slashed from four million to 1.5 million as a cost cutting measure.
He said 20000 metric tonnes of fertilizer has already been delivered to markets and all the consignment would be delivered before the onset of the planting rains.
The minister also said the reduction of the beneficiaries will in no way affect crop production in the country.
The farm input programme is a highly political and sensitive issue in Malawi. Just this week, President Peter Mutharika said he had information that the opposition in parliament want to block the programme from continuing but he did not say how, a claim swiftly denied the opposition accusing the president merely seeking to divert people’s attention from real issues.