Parliamentarians and chiefs in Ntcheu have expressed dissatisfaction over the use of private traders as suppliers of fertilizer and seeds in farm input subsidy program (fisp).
Speaking when agriculture officials from the district presented the status of 2017 FISP to full council members, Parliamentarian for Ntcheu West Mwai Kamuyambeni said suppliers did not do a good job last year as the commodity did not reach the targeted group.
“The private traders did not open outlets in remotest areas like Tsangano and Chigodi among other areas. This forced people to walk long distances in search of the commodity,” he said.
Kamuyambeni said it was not fair for beneficiaries of the programme who are already poor to travel long distances to get fertilizer and seeds because traders could not reach the places with outlets.
“Just think of a farmer from Tsangano to travel 80 km to the Boma to buy the commodity just because the supplier felt the distance is too long. This is not fair,” he lamented.
Senior Chief Makwangwala said government should put proper mechanisms to ensure that suppliers open outlets even in the hardest to reach areas.
“We have beneficiaries in those areas. If private suppliers think they couldn’t reach those areas they better not come in Ntcheu,” he requested.
Kamuyambeni and Makwangwala asked agriculture officials to ensure that private suppliers meet the District Executive Committee (DEC) members before they start selling the farm inputs to brief them how they are going to operate.
District Agricultural Development Officer for Ntcheu, Martin Kamlomo said his office was aware of the challenges people faced in 2016 and that the office would try to improve.
About 38,100 farmers are expected to benefit from the 2017 FISP in Ntcheu.