Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) has accused government of doing little to mechanise the agriculture sector in the country, saying this has caused farmers to continue using primitive tools.
FUM president Felix Jumbe said government got a $55 million (K16.6 billion) loan from India last year to purchase 177 tractors and 144 maize shellers, but he said the items are just lying idle.
â€œWe are worried because the tractors were supposed to be distributed to farmers. In fact, we sent our proposal to government explaining how we thought they could be distributed to farmers, but up to now there is no feedback,â€ he said.
But Deputy Minister of Agriculture Jermoth Ulemu Chilapondwa denied that the tractors and the shellers were lying idle.
â€œWe decided to distribute 77 tractors to eight agriculture development divisions and the remaining 100 will be sold at K5 million (about $167 000) each,â€ he said.
Chilapondwa said some of the tractors have already been deployed in farms in Mangochi and Mchinji.