Malawi minister admits fertliser subsidy programme had mistakes – Minister

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza confirmed mistakes that were done when implementing the 2012/2013 Farm Subsidy Programme.

The fertiliser subsidy programme, which was launched in 2005 to help boost Malawi’s food self-reliance capacity, offers fertiliser to poor farmers at a considerably lower rate than market value.

While responding to the state of the national address, Member of Parliament (MP) for Kasungu East, Gerald Banda said most farmers in his constituency have not benefited from the 2012/2013 farm subsidy programme.

“We are all aware that some metric tons of fertilizer went missing in the process of delivering. That is why some farmers have not benefited from the programme,” explained Mwanza.

Mwanza: There were mistakes
Mwanza: There were mistakes

Banda said 20 beneficiaries from his constituency are still keeping the coupons.

“In Kasungu we have a shortage of 800 metric tons of fertilizer of which 500 metric tons for Urea and 300 metric tons for 23:21,” explained Banda.

Banda added: “At first the programme was meant to benefit 1.4 million people and the programme was changed to benefit 1.5 million people, but we have failed people on what was mentioned.”

In response to that Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Professor Peter Mwanza admitted  the mistakes made in the delivery of the fertilizers.

“Let me admit we really had mistakes in the 2012/2013 subsidy programme, however we tried to rectify some of these errors,” explained Mwanza.

The subsidy programme has received a lot of criticism from the opposition politicians. John Tembo, who is the Leader of Opposition in the House, has called on government  to introduce universal farm input subsidy programme so that all farmers should benefit compared to the current programme which has “few beneficiaries”.

“It is high time government bank rolled the universal subsidy programme. Today, farmers are buying a bag of fertilizer at K14, 000,” he said. “How do you expect farmers to well with such exorbitant prices?”

He, among others, urged the current administration to enhance commercial farming and put in place “proper marketing system” for the benefit Malawians at all levels.

Tembo, who is also the president of Malawi Congress Party (MCP), said  in response to the President Joyce Banda’s State of the Nation Address, which was delivered last Friday.

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