Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation, Sameer Suleman, has threatened to expose the schemes the Fertilizer Association of Malawi (FAM) has been using to rip off Malawi for the past two decades.
Suleman – who is also the member of Parliament for Blantyre City South East – was responding to an open letter the association has written him, accusing him of misrepresenting facts in his presentations in various forums.
The lawmaker has repeatedly condemned FAM for practicing discrimination on the basis of race, as evidenced by the composition of the association, which currently does not have an indigenous Malawian as a member.
Suleman is also accusing the association of forming a cartel that has held the country at ransom.
“They usurped the mandate of the Smallholder Farmers’ Fertilizer Association of Malawi and ADMARC. And through this, they have successfully managed to capture the state machinery in as far as importation of fertilizers is concerned,” he says.
Suleman further alleges that the association is working with some unpatriotic officials at the Capital Hill in frustrating the development of the Fertilizer Bill.
But in their letter dated December 4, 2021, the association dismissed the assertions, claiming it represents a diversity of large and small Malawian businesses.
The letter, which FAM Executive Administration Officer Mbawaka Phiri confirmed, adds that their members include large importers, manufacturers, blenders, wholesalers, and retailers.
“FAM therefore rejects your claim that it is a “cartel” as fake, sensational at best and defamatory. FAM vigorously contests your claim as unfounded and without merit. Since its establishment FAM has a long history of successfully working with GoM and the Ministry on a number of key areas, including but not limited to fertilizer importation and distribution; good practices in the industry; fertilizer standards; the National Fertilizer Policy and Fertilizer Bill,” says the letter.
“It is unfortunate that the current global fertilizer markets have seen unprecedented price increases and supply shortages. The high cost of fertilizer is impacting the farmers of many Nations. It is hoped that fertilizer prices will revert to levels more in line with those seen over the past 5 years. Along with the high prices is the low availability of the product. As a nation Malawi is competing with the region to access fertilizer. For now, all stakeholders must make their best efforts to make the product available at the best possible price to Malawi’s farmers. To add to all these external difficulties there are considerable internal difficulties,” it adds.
The association further dared Suleman to an engagement to enable him to better understand the facts and to use his privileged position as MP and Chairperson of the Committee in order to better inform your fellow MPs and the public at large.
But in a separate interview on Monday, Suleman threatened to expose how the association has been suffocating government efforts to increase food production in the country.
He said he is even more disappointed that members of the association have decided to fool President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera by withdrawing their intentions to supply fertilizers in the Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
“Honestly speaking, these people are getting me tired now. Let me tell them I have all the information on how they have held this country hostage. I wonder why our governments have let them operate using the suffix Malawi when there is no Malawian in that association. I challenge them to present the name of a Malawian that is a member of that association, if what I am saying it a lie,” he said.
“I wish to assure Malawians that no matter how hard this cartel is working to frustrate the Fertilizer Bill, we, as lawmakers, are eagerly waiting for its finalization at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Once that is done, we will debate and pass it into law without hesitancy,” added Suleman.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :