Discontent is rising in Phalombe following failure by majority of farming families to acquire subsidised farm inputs.
The development has angered some of the district’s members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors who now fear for another season of food shortage.
A visit to the district on Friday showed that in most garden, the maize crop was due for fertiliser application, but the farmers cannot access the commodity.
During this farming season, government has given the private sector about 60 percent of the farm input quota to supply nationwide.
For Phalombe, eight private traders were identified to supply the inputs, but as of last week only one supplier was reportedly on the ground.
This was learnt during a meeting organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust for MPs, councillors and heads of government institutions in the district to review their developmental projects.
From the meeting, it was evident that in Phalombe, private traders have messed up the Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
Parliamentarians Mary Mpanga and Anna Kachikho for Phalombe North and Phalombe South, respectively expressed dismay at the suppliers’ failure to meet their obligations.
“I am bitter and shocked with these suppliers who were supposed to supply fertiliser in Phalombe.
“Despite the villagers receiving the coupons, they have failed to acquire fertiliser. This is a worrisome development because we will no longer have bumper yield as we thought we would,” said Mpanga.
On her part, Kachiko observed that the outlook was ‘very bleak’ for Phalombe,saying this would result in another food crisis in the district.
Phalombe district council vice-chairperson Francis Nunkhadzingwe, who is also councillor for Thundu Ward, appealed to government to consider reverting to Admarc as the principal retailer of subsidised fertiliser since the private traders have failed the farmers.
Phalombe Nice district civic education officer James Chimpeni said the meeting identified gaps in Fisp and the council would take up the matter. n