Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) says it will stop supporting the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) from July 2017, effectively depriving the programme about 700 000 pounds (about K630 million).
Britain’s contribution mainly covered the cost of printing fertiliser coupons. DfID has been a key partner of the Malawi Government in the programme since its inception in 2005.
Head of DfID in Malawi Jean Marshall confirmed the development yesterday and said the United Kingdom applauds Malawi for some of the reforms undertaken in Fisp.
She said DfID will, however, continue supporting national priorities in Malawi outside the government financial system.
According to Marshall, DfID has a number of investments which support national agricultural development priorities, including agriculture commercialisation that seeks to boost incomes of smallholder farmers and creating jobs in agribusiness.
She said: “The programme finally closes at the end of July 2017. DfID has been clear with Ministry of Agriculture [Irrigation and Water Development] that the 2016/17 growing season was to be the last one during which DfID could support Fisp.”
She said DfID was initially expected to exit the programme in 2015, but delayed at the request of the Malawi Government.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said government would take the responsibility of bridging financial gap created by the DfID exit.
He said: “You know we have been supporting the Farm Input Subsidy Programme using local resources and we will continue to support it even if DfID pulls out.”
In Malawi, the UK has been supporting programmes in health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation and economic development, particularly in rural areas and with the private sector for growth, jobs, incomes and food security.
It also supports increasing access to justice for women and vulnerable groups, accountability and governance reforms and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance.
Following revelations of abuse of resources at Capital Hill in 2013, widely known as Cashgate, Malawi’s development partners withdrew direct budget support. Many of the partners opted to channel their resources outside the central government system through non-governmental organisations (NGOs).