Some suppliers of farm inputs engaged by government are withholding NPk fertilizer in fear the cash strapped government would not be able to pay.
This may affect food production in some areas next as the fertilizer in question is applied as soon as the maize is just centimetres high.
Last year the government had a debt of K500 million to the suppliers which has just been cleared a few months ago after the suppliers threatened not to supply the farm inputs until the government paid off the balance.
Minister of Agriculture confirmed the incident and said the ministry of Finance has already made the payment and what is remaining is for the government to issue the payments to the suppliers.
“We are discussing with them to release the NPK fertilizer,” said Chiyembekeza playing down the issue.
The farm input programme has this year faced a lot of challenges from identification of recipients as some of the 1:8 million are civil servants leaving out thousands of the needy subsistence farmers to delays in the supply of the farm inputs to this issue of suppliers withholding the NPK fertilizer.
Chairman of parliamentary committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Felix Jumbe said Malawi is doomed for catastrophic food shortages next year following the government’s poor handling of the farm input programme this year.
However Chiyembekeza and minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe are upbeat that despite the problems, the country is headed for bumper yield if weather continues to be favourable.