Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development says the 2015/16 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) beneficiaries will be removed from the list of recipients next year as government moves to make the subsidy more sustainable.
This announcement by minister responsible, Allan Chiyembekeza, on Tuesday comes against the background of concerns from stakeholders over Fisp’s failure to graduate beneficiaries from the programme to afford inputs.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe yesterday, Chiyembekeza said government has a list of all farmers who grow maize nationwide and Fisp beneficiaries will be drawn from that list.
He said: “We did a count and discovered that there are about 4.5 million farmers who grow maize. Of course, the number is likely to change. But that is where the list of beneficiaries will be drawn from each time government is choosing beneficiaries.
“The farmers that have benefited from this year’s programme will not have a chance of benefiting from next year’s programme.”
The announcement comes three weeks after the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) asked government to consider an exit strategy for Fisp, saying it was becoming unsustainable due to its cost on the budget, among others.
Further, the minister said a research commissioned by Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) found that 25 percent of the selected beneficiaries are resource-poor farmers with the well-to-do farmers taking up about 50 percent and the remainder being taken up by the middle class farmers.
He also said about 50 000 metric tonnes of the 150 000 metric tonnes has been dispatched to depots across the country.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said Fisp reforms are part of donor conditions for aid resumption. n