Government has so far consolidated lists of beneficiaries for eight out of 29 districts in the 2016/17 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp), it has been established.
Meanwhile, 27 private companies that will supply, distribute and retail fertiliser have been identified while government is yet to select suppliers for the seed programme.
Furthermore, government will contribute K15 000 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag of fertiliser. This means if a private company is selling his fertiliser at K30 000 per 50kg bag, a farmer will only pay half the price.
Speaking in an interview last week, deputy Fisp coordinator Osbourne Tsoka said government is optimistic that this year’s Fisp will run smoothly as preparations are already at an advanced stage.
“At this point, we are working on the beneficiary list. When all the numbers come, then we will centrally and electronically select them. Farmers that benefited from the 2015/2016 Fisp are not benefiting and data cleaning is being done to correct the anomalies observed in the 2015/2016 season such as the working class, infants and the dead,” he said.
Tsoka also said farmers’ financial contribution to all inputs will vary depending on the market prices.
He said: “We cannot determine the prices, but we are guaranteed that the prices will not be as high because they [private companies] would need to redeem the coupons. Now if they do not sell [the commodities], they would incur losses,” he said.
Tsoka further said seed suppliers will be Seed Trade Association of Malawi (STAM) members.
“Maize seed will be redeemed at K5 000 while legume seed will be at K2 500,” he said.
Meanwhile, government is still owing transporters and suppliers K6 billion, an amount which includes interests on fertiliser vouchers.
In an interview, Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya said government will pay the money once the necessary processes have been done through the Auditor General’s office.
“We will need to verify all claims and audit them before a payment can be made, but government is aware of the outstanding balances,” he said.
This year’s programme, which will be carried out by private companies, is expected to benefit 900 000 households.
The Fisp budget this year has been pegged at K31.4 billion. n