Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Walter Development Kondwani Nankhumw has said the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp), the country’s biggest social protection project, will continue as government is set improve the system.
Nankhumwa described 2019/2020 FISP program as a success.
He said the essence of the programme is to uphold the welfare of the poor.
Nankhumwa said for the very first time in history the Ministry managed to reach farmers in hard to reach areas compared to the past years attributing it to the wise and dynamic leadership of Professor Peter Mutharika.
“For the first time, a special arrangement was made with suppliers to assist farmers from hard to reach areas. Inputs were available in those areas at a time of coupon distribution. This was done to reduce distance that these farmers travel to access these inputs,” said Nankhumwa
Former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika introduced Fisp in 2005, defying criticism from some development partners, targeting vulnerable people in society. Since its introduction, the number of beneficiaries has averaged 1.4 million. However, many critics have called for the need for beneficiaries to graduate and government to devise an exit strategy.
Critics have asked government to consider developing an exit strategy for Fisp.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has dislcosded that the 2019/2020 FISP will close on 7th February 2020.
Principle Secretary in the Ministry, Gray Nyandule Phiri said in a statement dated that all fertilizer retailers, seed companies and agro- dealers under FISP program will be closed on the said date.
“After the date (7th February) all the farmers will not be allowed to buy inputs using coupons,” said Nyandule while advising farmers and Input Suppliers to finalize their transactions before the stated date.
The 2019/2020 FISP program was launched in October 2019 by the Minister of Agriculture.
Over 900,000 smallholder farmers from across the country were estimated to benefit from 2019/2020 FISP program.
Malawi has been implementing FISP Program for the last 15 years and it has registered a lot of success stories despite receiving a cool shoulder from the donor community and opposition political parties in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :