Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha has said the final consignment of Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) coupons is scheduled to arrive this Friday from the United Kingdom.
The minister made the remarks on Monday when he visited Blantyre Agriculture Development Division (ADD) to discuss with officials from the seven districts under Blantyre ADD how Fisp materials will be handled this year.
Mwanamvekha said unlike the previous years, Fisp materials are expected to arrive in the country earlier to eradicate challenges the programme faced last year.
“In our meeting we discussed, among other issues, how we can address challenges we have been facing in the previous years on Fisp such as distribution of coupons. This year coupons have come in time; the first consignment arrived in the country on September 29. This Friday we are going to receive the final consignment,” he said.
In his remarks, Blantyre ADD programmes manager Martin Kausi said they have already conducted training to empower officials to be ready for the new growing season.
“We held training sessions in Lunzu and Luchenza with the agro-input suppliers on coupon security features to prepare for the coupons. Last year, famers received coupons late because they also came late. But this year, they have arrived in time,” he said.
Soon after the final dispatch of coupons arrives, distribution to different districts will follow immediately.
Last year, beneficiaries received the coupons in November and December.
By this time, some farmers had already planted their maize.
This year, the programme targets 900 000 farming families nationwide. n