Opposition leader Nankhumwa fears looming hunger, tears AIP apart after SFFRFM visit 

Kondwani Nankhumwa, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, has said Malawians must brace themselves for hunger next year following the collapse of the much-touted Tonse Alliance government’s Agricultural Inputs Programme (AIP).
“There will obviously be a significant reduction in crop yield this farming season because AIP has been marred by corruption and serious logistical challenges. Smallholder farmers are failing to access subsided synthetic fertilizers,” Nankhumwa told reporters in Blantyre on Friday, December 30, 2022 after touring the headquarters and warehouses of Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) in Blantyre.
He said it was pathetic that there were only a meagre 50,500 metric tonnes of fertilizer at SFFRFM, “which is a very small amount compared to the demand on the ground”.
“The officials here have informed me that more fertilizer is at Beira Port in Mozambique enroute to Malawi. But I am saying that logistically, it is impossible for SFFRFM to supply fertilizer across the country within this farming season.
“This shortage of fertilizer will have far-reaching impact on the agriculture sector in the country, which will translate in food shortage next year,” said the opposition leader.
According to Nankhumwa, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that SFFRFM is the sole supplier of the AIP fertilizers when it has less than 100 depots across the country.
“This is a serious logistical obstacle in ensuring that farmers easily access fertilizer. It has made it even more difficult for farmers to access the fertilizer they desperately need.
“We were all excited when the government announced in Parliament that they would resume ADMARC operations on December 1st, but today is the 30th and ADMARC is still closed.
“ADMARC provides easy fertilizer market access to the farmers and ADMARC could have been a practical way out of the current AIP mess,” a visibly furious Nankhumwa said.
Nankhumwa, who is also the Democratic Progressive Party DPP Vice President for the Southern Region, later addressed DPP supporters outside SFFRFM premises, saying the Tonse Alliance government has failed Malawians on many aspects, including the campaign promise that there would be affordable and available fertilizers in Malawi under their rule.
He hailed former President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, who led the former DPP administration, for ensuring that during his time, farmers accessed fertilizers and other inputs easily and at a much cheaper price than the case is today.
Nankhumwa was accompanied at SFFRFM by his spouse and Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Blantyre Kabula, Gertrude Nankhumwa, and MP for Chiradzulu West and Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Health, Dr Matthews Ngware.

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