Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, has revealed that the Fertilizer Input Subsidy Program (FISP) for the 2018/19 growing season will be launched soon.
Director for the FISP program, Osborne Tsoka, disclosed on Wednesday, saying preparations for the program are underway and making good progress.
“We have begun preparations for the 2018/19 FISP program and I must say we are very pleased with the progress. So far, we are at an advanced stage and this year we are targeting 1 million households,” explained Tsoka.
In the past, the FISP program has been marred by a number of challenges, some of them are delay in coupon delivery and difficult access to the inputs by farmers as a majority of them are located in remotest and hard-to-reach areas.
With this, the FISP Director said they are doing everything possible to beat the time factor, but refused to commit on the exact dates when the program will commence.
“The time factor is critical in this program, and we are aware of that; that is why we started preparations earlier than usual this year,” said Tsoka, assuring that things are in final stages.
“Apart from designing of the coupons, we are also assessing the lead suppliers and their capacity so that we do not face hiccups like the previous season where private traders could not reach remote areas, making it difficult for farmers to access inputs,” he emphasized.
Responding to climate change challenges, Tsoka, while describing the situation a global crisis, said the ministry will do all it can to ensure households receive coupons before the onset of the rains.
“For the past years, the country has been affected by flooding, dry spells and the recent fall army worms, but we are not giving up, we will provide all means necessary to ensure that we beat all these challenges. One way of doing this is to start issuing coupons before the first rains,” he explained.
Malawi’s economy remains largely agro-based, and this leaves the country vulnerable to challenges that emerge due to climate change; as a result, government continues promoting climate-smart agriculture and sensitizing the masses on crop diversification and mindset change on over-reliance on agriculture.