Malawi fertilizer scandal: 1, 610 bags of sand discovered at Admarc depot in Mzimba

About 1, 610 bags out of 1, 860 of subsidized 23:21:0 fertilizer that were distributed at Ebombeni Admarc depot in Mzimba had sand while only 250 bags contained fertilizer.

Farmers from Chibamu Jere, Ebombeni and Mgubani villages in the area of traditional authority M’mbelwa on Saturday were shocked to discover that many bags contained sand instead of fertilizer.

Group Village Headman Chibamu Jere said the local committee went to sell fertilizer to farmers on that fateful day when it was discovered that many bags were full of sand. He said this shocked everybody and informed Mzimba District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO) and Admarc officials who came to see the incident.

“We went to Admarc depot to ensure that fertilizer was being sold to intended farmers. Before farmers started buying, some people decided to check fertilizer bags and this was when we discovered that many bags had sand.

Fertiliser subsidy programme in Malawi riddled with corruption

“This prompted the committee to report the matter to Mzimba DADO who came with some Admarc officials from Mzuzu. When they came and checked, they ordered us not to buy those bags except 250 bags which contained good fertilizer,” Chibamu Jere said.

The Group Village Headman expressed concern that some farmers have not bought fertilizer as they still wait for some fertilizer to be stocked at the depot saying this may affect farmers since they aren’t sure when the next deliveries will be made.

“Some farmers haven’t bought fertilizer. As such, we are worried as to when the next deliveries will be made at the depot,” he added.

Commenting on the story Mzimba DADO, Leonard Tchongwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports, saying officials from Admarc took some samples which will be sent to research station for testing. Tchongwe, though, confirmed that bags which allegedly contained sand have been withheld pending results of the samples.

“I wouldn’t say the bags contained either sand or fertilizer as my colleagues from Admarc took some samples which will be sent to research station to prove or disprove the allegations.

“At the moment I can only confirm that those bags deemed containing sand have been withheld pending the results,” Tchongwe said.

Public relations officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Sara Tione expressed ignorance over the issue, saying there weren’t any reports regarding the fertilizer issue in Mzimba.

However, she quickly pointed out that if the reports were true then it was unfortunate and needs

This is a second time for farmers in the country to find bags of sand instead of subsidized fertilizer. First, it was discovered in Mangochi last month whereby some bags delivered by Simama Transport.

This year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) has encountered a lot of challenges ranging from fake coupons by some individuals, formation of dubious villages to increase the number of beneficiaries to bags containing sand.

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