Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of the Archdiocese of Blantyre has demanded that government should publish a full list of subsistence farmers that benefitted from the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) in the 2014/15 agricultural season.
The demand follows a survey CCJP conducted in Ntcheu, Phalombe and Thyolo, which revealed that majority of the targeted beneficiaries still have unused coupons although government claims that “only a few farmers were not reached”.
CCJP project officer for the Tilitonse-funded project, Peter Muyaya, said their research shows that “the opposite is true”.
Said Muyaya: “It is in fact only a few people who benefitted from the programme. Government is, therefore, not being honest in making contrary claims.”
He cited Traditional Authority (T/A) Ganya in Ntcheu where the survey revealed that less than 25 percent of the farmers earmarked to benefit from Fisp accessed inputs.
He said the situation is similar in other parts of the country, including Phalombe and Thyolo districts where CCJP is currently implementing a project aimed at enhancing citizen participation for accountable and responsive governance.
He said: “We, therefore, demand that government should publish a list of the beneficiary farmers. This is the only way we can know the truth regarding the correct number of people that benefitted from the programme last season.”
Group village head (GVH) Sanjani, who is under T/A Ganya in Ntcheu, said only 30 farmers in the area managed to buy the inputs while over 100 still have their coupons.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza, who told the media earlier this year that the programme was a success, refused to comment on contrary findings.
Said Chiyembekeza: “I don’t think the media is the right forum to discuss challenges Fisp might have suffered. The aggrieved farmers and CCJP should take their concerns to the ministry and not the media.”