Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa has dared President Lazarus Chakwera to fix the challenges farmers are currently facing in accessing and buying cheap fertilizer and seeds under the Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
In a public statement issued on Friday the 27th of November, 2020, Nankhumwa , who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice-president (South) has described the AIP as a disaster.
“I would like to call upon the Tonse Alliance government to come up with workable solutions to this criss within an urgent timeframe,” said Nankhumwa in astatement made available to Nyasa Times.
He continued: “A few weeks ago, the Minister of Agriculture and other government officials assured Malawians that the AIP challenges would be resolved within two weeks. The two-week period has elapsed and the solution does not seem to be anywhere near being resolved.
“In fact, the situation seems to be deteriorating further. If need be, the electronic system must be abandoned and let a manual verification system be used instead,” said Nankhumwa who is also DPP Vice President for the southern region.”
Nankhumwa also says that government had planned for 370,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer but so far, only 37,000 metric tonnes have been distributed across the country.
“To say that AIP is a complete disaster and that we are nation that faces hunger next year would be an understatement. The current fertilizer situation is extremely disturbing and especially occurring against the backdrop of Tonse Alliance’s three-meals-a- day pledge that made to the people of Malawi,” said Nankhumwa who once served as Minister of Agriculture in DPP led government.
Reports indicate that the programme is facing numerous challenges from ICT hiccups to selling underweight bags of farm inputs. Other dealers are said to be selling low quality seeds and overpricing of the inputs amongst others.
Government engaged 83 private companies to supply the AIP across the country but only 46 companies have actually distributed or are still distributing their inputs while the others have dropped out of circulation, according to the Leader of the Opposition.
Nankhumwa has also asked the Faith community, including the Public Affairs Committee, the Evangelical Association of Malawi, Episcopal Conference of Malawi, the Muslim Association of Malawi, the General Synod of the CCAP, and other faith communities in the country to hold interdenominational prayers to pray for our country to have good rains and not destructive rains.