The delay to roll out this year’s Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) has irked Civil Society Network on Agriculture (CisaNet).
CisaNet expressed the concerned in a media statement signed by its board Chairperson Herbert Chigona.
According to Chigona, the delay to roll out the program is a contradiction to the government’s commitment to supporting poor farmers and ensuring food security in the country.
“It is extremely worrisome that, with only one-and-a-half months left before the rainy season, the government has not yet determined the price of fertilizer under the AIP.
“Fertilizer plays a pivotal role in agricultural productivity, and its timely availability at an affordable price is essential to enable farmers to prepare adequately for the planting season,” said Chigona in a statement
It further reads: “Smallholder farmers, who make up the backbone of Malawi’s agricultural sector, rely heavily on the AIP for access to affordable inputs. For many, it is a lifeline that sustains their families and ensures food security.
“The delay in price determination threatens to disrupt the planting season, potentially resulting in lower yields and increased food insecurity.”
CisaNet also faulted government through the ministry of agriculture for reducing number of AIP beneficiaries by 1 million.
“The abrupt removal of beneficiaries without clear criteria or explanations can have severe consequences for vulnerable households, and it is imperative that the government provides clarity on this matter promptly,” said Chigona
This year the AIP has been allocated 109 billion kwacha, down from 117 billion kwacha last year.