Chairperson of the Agriculture and Natural resources Committee of Parliament David Luka has disclosed his committee will undertake a national wide inspection tour to unveil irregularities marring this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) following emerging reports of fake coupons, theft and sand mixed fertilizer.
Luka told Capital Radio his team will travel across the country to inspect and find more on the progress of this year’s FISP and problems rocking the project.
Luka said despite not being furnished with details on the current status of the programme, his team will undertake the assessment tour following emerging reports on the irregularities marring the initiative.
“We have not been given a report on the progress or communicated to on the current challenges, so we thought it wise to initiate the assessment tour so that we can learn and discover more by ourselves on the problems being experienced,” Luka said.
This year fertilizer subsidy programme has been marred with several irregularities from the controversially reduction of beneficiaries in some districts, issuing of fake coupons, as well as the distribution of sand mixed fertilizers.
Government under Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (FISP) distribute and sell fertilizer at reduced price of K500 to smallholder farmers across the country in a bid to end hunger at household and national level.
And in Mangochi and Mzimba there have been incidents of fertilizer being mixed with sand. This week about 1,610 sand mixed fertilizer was found at Ebombeni Admarc depot in Mzimba. Last month 146 bags were also found containing sand at Katuli Admarc depot in Mangochi.
Last week Minister of Agriculture Professor Peter Mwanza admitted disparities in the distribution of coupons under Fertilizer Subsidy Programme with some districts not yet supplied with the vouchers.
In Blantyre, Police have arrested two Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) ex-workers in connection to the theft of 295 tonnes (5,900 bags) of subsidized fertilizer amounting to K75, 060, 000.
The two, Tito Mtileni 23 years old and Evance Kalopo 26, were arrested on Saturday (December 1, 2012) at Chichiri Shopping mall in Blantyre just days after the law enforcers apprehended three other people for diverting 3,202 bags of fertilizer which was later sold at Lizulu, Mozambique side.