Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe has said government will make sure that farmers will definitely have a bumper harvest this year just like last season regardless of the growing season facing two challenges being poor rains and catastrophic affordable inputs program challenges.
Lowe has made this assurance in a statement aimed at updating the nation on the implementation of the 2021 Affordable Input Program (AIP) which failed to outline details on how government would ensure that farming households are indeed food sufficient when it is apparent that rains and affordable inputs are elusive this year.
Malawi is highly dependent on rain fed agriculture, which is actually the backbone of the country’s economy.
Irrigation remains largely disdained among farming households as most of them are poor and unable to afford investment and machinery associated with such farming.
As of 26 December, 2021, when rains must have been actually falling in earnest, most fields across the country remain dry and unplanted, shattering hopes of even meagre harvest.
But Lowe’s crystal ball reveals there is “a bumper harvest” on the way.
“Allow me to assure my fellow Malawians that the government will make sure that farmers will definitely have a bumper harvest this year just like last season. This will in the end improve household and national food security,” said Lowe, briefly.
This year’s AIP was launched on 16 October, 2021, by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera in Chiradzulu District.
According to Lowe, 3.7 million farmers who were targeted last year, are redeeming their entitlements through the use of National IDs at Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), SFFRFM and some private suppliers.
“As of Sunday, December 26, 2021, over 60 fertilizer suppliers out of 166 are selling fertilizer to farmers. 10 seed suppliers out of 10 are on the ground and 17 companies out of 63 contracted for livestock component are on the ground selling goats as well.
“To date farmers have accessed 143, 992 MT (2, 879, 840 bags) representing 38.8 percent against the target of 371, 411MT (7, 428, 210 bags). This translates into 1, 439, 920 farming households who have accessed two bags of fertilizer as of yesterday, December 26, 2021,” said Lowe.
The minister added that the ministry has, this far, sold 9, 269.37 MT of cereal seed (1, 853, 874 packets) out of a total requirement of 18, 570MT of maize seed, representing almost 50 percent.
“The selling of goats to 30, 000 farming families in Nsanje and Chikwawa also commenced 2 weeks ago where 63 private suppliers are expected to sell these goats. So far 4, 619 goats have been sold out of the expected 60,000 goats. This represents 7.7 percent redemption rate,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :