Despite the onset of the rains in most parts of the country, smallholder farmers in Likoma, Chizumulu islands and other hard-to-reach areas in the Northern Region are yet to receive farm inputs under the 2014/2015 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
Challenges in distributing fertiliser to the two islands and other areas along the lakeshore such as Usisya in Nkhata Bay and Tchalo in Rumphi have been attributed to the breakdown of the MV Ilala.
This was revealed on Tuesday during a media tour when journalists visited Luwinga Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM), Rumphi and Nkhata Bay Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) depots.
Rumphi Admarc manager Masauko Nyirongo, whose office oversees Admarc depots in Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Chizumulu and Mzimba North, said Likoma, Chizumulu and other Admarc markets in Nkhata Bay and Rumphi have not been serviced.
He said in Nkhata Bay, where most of the areas with poor terrain have not been reached, distribution rate of NPK fertiliser is at 80 percent whereas Urea is at 57 percent.
Fisp deputy coordinator Osborne Tsoka asked farmers not to panic, assuring them that by end of next week they will have the commodities.
He said they prioritised hard-to-reach areas in dispatching fertiliser during this year’s programme.
He attributed the challenges to inflow of inputs by some suppliers, while stating that most of them have already reached 100 percent completion rate.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Fred Movete expressed concern that this will affect production. n