Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa has punched holes in ministerial statement on Affordable Inputs Program describing it as ‘unfair’ to urge people not to panic.
This comes as Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale in the morning delivered the statement hoping that the AIP will be a success.
Nankhumwa said it is unfair to urge people not to panic with this year’s delayed Affordable Inputs Program arguing that the country has already started receiving rains but fertilizer is no where to be seen.
Nankhumwa has also alleged that on the beneficiaries list, the figures have been tremendously reduced to less than 2 million people and not the 2.5 million people that the minister has said will benefit from the program.
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale has asked people not to panic over this year’s Affordable Input Programme -AIP, saying the Programme is going to be a success.
Kawale said this in Parliament on Thursday during his ministerial Statement on this year’s programme.
According to Kawale, fertilizer prices globally have gone up following COVID-19 and the Russia Ukraine war, he said, this has led to some changes in this year’s AIP as government has resorted to reducing number of beneficiaries to 2.5 million.
He however said those left out, are expected to benefit from the Social cash transfer, Smart Climate Public works and different projects under Agricultural Commercialisation (AGCOM).
He said, the farmers to benefit this are expected to make a contribution of K15,000 while Government will contribute K50 000 on the 50kg bag.
On the donated fertilizer, Kawale has told Parliament that this fertilizer will not be given out for free as government is expected to foot blending costs.
He said, some of the donated fertilizer is not suitable for Malawian soil therefore some products have to be procured for its blending.
In this year’s AIP, Kawale discloses that retailing process will be done by Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) and that government is planing mobile vending to avoid the stress that women and the elderly go through to access the fertilizer.
Kawale has told Parliament that government is ready with this year’s Programme and he has since urged people not to panic but to trust the process.
This year’s AIP is expected to be launched by President Lazarus Chakwera on Saturday in Dedza.