President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed delight with a crop inspection report that Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe presented to him on Tuesday which has projected a bumper yield due to his Tonse Alliance government’s flagship Affordable Input Program (AIP).
The report was presented at Kamuzu Palace in which the ministry beamed a video documentary depicting the status of crops across the country’s eight agriculture development divisions (ADDs), namely Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Salima, Machinga, Blantyre and the Shire Valley.
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako led in presentation of the documentary report.
The President said the AIP will help to end the endless circles of food shortages the Country has been experiencing in the past.
He said the increased maize production signalled that the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM party election campaign promises as highlighted in the manifesto pledges which were touted by the Tonse Alliance on food security status has been fulfilled.
Chakwera said MCP and UTM manifestoes promised affordable farm inputs on page 30 and 36 respectively.
“The AIP is a fulfilment of our promise,” said Chakwera.
Chakwera said the report allowed him to hear directly from farmers across the country.
“From what the farmers are saying, it is clear that they are not only happy with what they are witnessing in their fields, but the capacity it gives them to feed themselves three times a day and the opportunity they now have to sell the access maize and have money in their pockets as see for tomorrow,” said Chakwera.
The President said Malawians must be judges on whether AIP has served them better and not be influenced by opinion of other stakeholders
“When it comes to measuring success of the programme, what matters is not the opinion of politicians, opinion of the Ministry of Agriculture, opinion of foreigners, political parties or the opinion of the President. When it comes to the success of this programme, what matters is the opinion of the farmer,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Minister Lowe said the Tonse Alliance government facilitated access of over 242,000 metric tons of fertilizers for 3.4 million smallholder farmers through AIP and was pleased that Malawi will register bumper harvest for both food security and markets.
Lowe said President Chakwera “against all odds”, launched the AIP in October 2020.
“Being a man of action who doesn’t get carried away by the means to an end but rather the results, you commissioned the crop inspection tour ti appreciate not only the outturn of AIP, but the general crop outlook to help plan for the consumption season ahead,” said Lowe.
AIP replaced the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) implemented by the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration since 2006 which was associated with a number of challenges, including fraud, corruption and logistical issues especially in hard-to-reach areas.
Initially sold as universal subsidy by the Tonse Alliance during the campaign, the initiative turned out to be a near five-fold expansion of Fisp that only targeted 900 000 farming families for less than K30 billion per year while AIP is covering 4.2 million households for K158.3 billion at a much lower redemption price.
Every smallholder farming household is entitled to a 50-kilogramme (kg) bag of NPK; a 50-kg bag of Urea; either five-kg of maize seed or seven-kg of sorghum or seven kg of rice seed, depending on the farmer’s preference.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :