Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha on Wednesday officially launched the 2017/18 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) with a warning to suppliers to desist from selling substandard inputs to farmers.
Speaking at Mzura in Mchinji during the launch, the minister said government would deal with all suppliers found selling expired fertilisers or seeds.
“In the 2017/18 Fisp contract with government, suppliers have committed not to sell substandard inputs and as a ministry we will be checking the inputs before they are distributed to selling points,” he said.
Mwanamvekha warned the suppliers against buying coupons from the farmers, saying companies involved in the malpractice will be banned from supplying inputs for the programme.
The minister said government has increased the value of coupons for maize seed from K3 000 to K6 000 to allow farmers to have good yields.
He said Fisp has been a success as it has enabled farmers who could not afford fertilisers and seeds to buy and have enough food in their households.
Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, said his committee would ensure the programme is conducted effectively this farming season.
“We are encouraged that the distribution of coupons has started in good time. This will ensure that farmers grow their crops in good time,” Malunga pointed out.
Government will subsidise NPK and Urea fertilisers per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag for K15 000 and 5kg maize seed for K6000, 2kg sorghum for K6 000 and 2 kg legume seed for K2 050.
Some of the companies to sell the subsidised inputs are Agora and Export and Trading. n