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FUM pleads with government to sort out last year’s AIP challenges

By Wisdom Ngwira

File Photo: Farmers at fertilizer depots waiting for cheap fertilizer last year

Lilongwe, September, 21, Mana: The Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) says government should ensure that challenges that were encountered in last year’s Affordable Input Programme (AIP) are ironed out in the programme this year.

During last year’s AIP implementation, many farmers complained of poor network system, late commodity delivery and early stock-outs among others.

Reacting after government released a statement on the 2022-23 AIP, FUM President Flyton Njolomole said as a farmer’s body, they are keen to see how some challenges that farmers endured last year have been addressed.

“To begin with, let me hail government for committing to subsidise this year’s 50 kilogramme fertilizer bag at K15 000.This will greatly help our needy farmers bearing in mind that the price for the commodity on the parallel market is unattainable to many farmers.

I should however ask government to properly sort out all the hiccups that many farmers faced during last year’s AIP like issues of network as well as unavailability of commodities at various depots,” said Njolomole.

The FUM president said success of the AIP could be achieved well if the programme has minimal challenges.

Njolomole then urged farmers in the country to take utilize the opportunity by making sure that they purchase the farm inputs in good time and use them in their crop fields.

In the media release, the ministry says it will ensure that farmers get quality and secure inputs by employing the use of an electronic system during input redemption.

“The ministry will responsible for maintain chemical composition of the fertilizer of the fertilizer and its physical characteristics through the Malawi Bureau of Standards and the Agriculture Research Services. It is a must that all seed in Malawi should have scratch cards stack on seed packs regardless of the pack size to show the ingenuity of the seed,” the statement reads in part.

Over 2.5 million farmers are expected to benefit from this year’s AIP where 2 470 000 will get fertilizer and cereal seed where as will get goats in selected districts of Chikwawa, Nsanje,Balaka and Rumphi.

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