Smallholder farmers waiting to benefit from 2015-2016 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) should begin to consider revising their budget now, the cost of buying two bags of subsidised fertilizer and seeds is now at K8500 from K1, 150.
This means cost of contribution towards the FISP for each bag of fertiliser has gone up by 600%.
Each 50kg bag of fertilizer for FISP was previously costing K500, now Government has decided to put each bag of fertilizer at K3500 translating a total cost of K7000 (seven thousand kwacha) for Urea and NPK fertilizer bags.
Now, 5kg packet of maize Seed will cost K1000 and for a packet of legume seed farmers will contribute K500.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza announced the changes at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, saying this follows reforms that government has taken in response to calls.
“This year, the programme beneficiaries will be contributing quite substantial amount of money” he said before announcing the new costs
“We as government have been pushed left and right because everybody continued to say that we are spending too much money on the Farm Input Subsidy at the expense of other Government programmes which we understood and to some extent agreed,” said Chiyembekeza.
He said:“So there was need for some kind of reforms in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme.”
Justifying the adjustments Chiyembekeza said:“All this has been done in response to the outcry because this is what many people wanted including donors that at least we would want to make contribution of the farmer to be seen to be reasonable so that at least they can also feel that they are part of the programme”
Previous years, a farmer was contributing K500 (five hundred kwacha) for each fertilizer bag and it costs them K1000 (one thousand kwacha) for two bags. And for seed maize, it was K150 while legume seeds were given out for free because there was support from development partners on seed part.
However this year the Minister revealed that “We still haven’t been assured whether there is going to be that support”
The Agriculture Minister also indicated that as part of reforms in the programme, the private sector will be involved in the supply, distribution and direct retail of some of the fertilizer earmarked for seven selected districts as pilot.
“We are doing this as a pilot because we don’t know whether it will work as people anticipate. So we don’t want to put all our eggs in one basket. If this proves to be more cost effective and more efficient than the system we have always used, definitely future farm input subsidy programmes will be used through this system” he said
But Chiyembekeza clarified that the remainder of the districts will follow the same old system where Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) and ADMARK will be markets for the FISP fertilizer.
He also hinted that procurement of fertilizer will be done by SFFRFM but evaluation for the bids of fertilizer which opened on 31st July 2015 will either be completed end of this week or early next week.
Chiyembekeza while indicating that bids for transport will be done this Friday 7th August 2015, said beneficiary identification will be done in due course.
FISP will clock 11 years since its implementation, with an aim of achieving food self sufficiency and increased income of resource poor farmers through increased maize and legume production.
The 2015/2016 budget allocated K41.5 billion for the programme targeting 1.5 million beneficiaries. From the budget, Government will procure and subsidize 150 thousand metric tonnes of fertilizer where; 75 thousand metric tonnes will be for NPK fertilizer and another 75 thousand metric tonnes of fertiliser will be for Urea.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :