Malawi government has vowed to continue with the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) despite the initiative attracting continued criticism from various stakeholders.
Recent reports on the programme highlighted nepotism, flaws in security, logistics and political interference as challenges ranking high.
But speaking in an interview in Lilongwe on Friday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ulemu Chilapondwa said the scheme remains the country’s “only way out” to achieve food security.
His sentiments come just days after the African Union Commission hailed Malawi and seven other countries for their efforts in promoting agriculture with an aim of attaining food and nutrition security.
Malawi was recognised at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)held in Maputo last week,as one of only eight African Union member States to have attained the ten percent National Budgetary allocations by 2008 towards growing agriculture as stipulated in the 2003 Maputo Declaration and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Reacting to the news, Chilapondwa attributed the country’s feat to the government-initiated subsidy programme which began in 2005.
According to the minister, government allocates more than the stipulated ten percent benchmark towards realisation of food security, as agriculture also forms the country’s economic backbone.
Said Chilapondwa: “It feels good to have been recognised for our efforts in combating hunger not only in the country, but also across the region. Today, the region is keen to learn from us as to how we have achieved food security over the years. As such, we can’t drop the only thing that’s making us tick simply because it has got flaws. Abandoning the programme is, therefore, not an option at anytime. I feel we just have to improve on the weaknesses and keep such momentum going, after all, there is already a political will from this side.”
He also applauded the private sector; admitting the country could not have achieved such strides in agriculture if government had worked in isolation.