The Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has expressed concern over the growing tendency by suppliers of the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) to sell fake fertilizers to beneficiaries of the programme.
Lowe revealed to journalists in Lilongwe on Monday that some companies contracted to supply affordable inputs have been duping poor farmers by selling them counterfeit inputs.
“These are heartless people who want to bring the spirit of poverty to farmers so that they are food insecure thereby remaining poor. It is an unwelcome development and we have reported these companies to police for further prosecution,” he warned.
Lowe added that some are suppliers conniving with farmers to sell them their national identity cards at a cost of K30, 000.
Lowe was also worried with the absence of companies who were supposed to supply affordable fertilizer in some designated areas.
From 166 companies contracted to supply AIP fertilizers, only 60 have shown up on the market, he said.
According to him, 10 seed companies have all shown up and are on the ground, 17 companies out of 63 for livestock are selling goats.
He further said farmers who have so far accessed AIP are over 1.4million.
Lowe assured farmers of bumper harvest this year as most of the challenges are being rectified.
State owned Smallholder Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRM) and Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) are on the ground selling affordable inputs in hard to reach areas with additional 96 temporary selling points making a total of 481 markets across the country.
In his remarks, Malawi Police Service (MPS) Deputy Commissioner responsible for community policing, Aubrey Nyirenda assured Malawians of maximum security in all selling points.
“We have already arrested some culprits in the on going implementation of AIP,” he said
So far, he said, police have registered 12 cases in connection to AIP from October when the program was launched to date.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :