- Only 7 500 tons of 150 000 distributed so far
With rains almost around the corner, suppliers of inputs in this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) have only managed to supply about 7 500 metric tons (MT) of the 150 000MT to be distributed, putting a further strain on the programme.
According to a logistics report released on October 24 2015, the 12 suppliers have supplied to the various warehouses nationwide 151 457 bags of fertiliser, translating to 7 572MT of the 150 000MT, representing five percent.
This means that out of 1.5 million total Fisp beneficiaries, 37 864 have so far received or can access both NPK 1 and Urea fertilisers.
In an interview on Thursday, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza attributed the slow progress to lack of resources and suppliers’ failure to supply fertiliser for distribution.
He said: “We had a setback in terms of resources. We could not start the process fully because we needed to put all resources in one place. Not only that, some of the suppliers have not began supplying fertiliser to warehouses for the distribution, further causing the delay.
“But we are still optimistic that we will finish the process in time for it to be used.”
The logistics report further shows that out of the 12 contracted suppliers, eight have not delivered any bag of fertiliser to any warehouse, one has delivered 100 percent while the other three have done 49 percent, 24 percent and 14 percent respectively.
But chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Felix Jumbe, yesterday warned that the delay to deliver fertiliser could be costly because, for example, NPK 1 fertiliser needs to be applied as maize is being planted.
He accused government of contracting suppliers with no fertiliser stocks.
Said Jumbe: “The meteorological experts have already announced that the rains will come early. Unfortunately, government is making this worse because the suppliers are having to hunt for the fertiliser, meaning it will take a maximum of seven weeks for it to get here. In addition, companies to issue coupons have also not been identified.”
He said this is an artificial disaster.
Last week, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development GoodalGondwe announced the addition of K9 billion ($16.5 million) to K40 billion ($73.4 million) Fisp budget to support the maize seed component which was earlier scrapped off due to lack of fund.
Malawi introduced Fisp in 2005 to support mostly smallholder farmers with subsidised access to fertiliser and hybrid maize seeds. The programme has been benefitting about 1.5 million people annually, but has faced criticism of lack of graduation among the beneficiaries.