There are mixed reactions to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development decision to resume distribution of 2018/19 Farm Input Subsidy (Fisp) coupons suspended last Tuesday amid reports of anomalies.
Reacting to the decision, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) yesterday said it was not satisfied that the ministry has resolved the anomalies that crippled the coupons distribution exercise while the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) welcomed the resumption, saying it was critical that farmers access the inputs before the onset of the first rains.
The ministry suspended the exercise amid allegations that some beneficiaries were not from villages indicated on the beneficiary list while some beneficiaries were allegedly selling the coupons to vendors instead of buying the inputs for their use.
In an interview yesterday, ministry spokesperson Osborne Tsoka said following investigations his ministry conducted on claims that some beneficiaries were selling coupons, it was established that there were no anomalies; hence, the decision to lift the suspension.
But FUM president Alfred Kapichira Banda said the union would only be satisfied after every farmer registered for Fisp benefits from the programme.
On her part, CisaNet executive director Pamela Kuwali hoped the programme would be fast-tracked to reach out to beneficiaries.
In the 2018/19 National Budget where K151 billion was allocated to Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, K42 billion was invested in Fisp to benefit one million farmers with fertiliser, hybrid maize seed, legume seed and rice and sorghum seeds to boost food security.
The programe was established in 2005 to enable poor farmers achieve household food security.