Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has set a production target for 285 000 smallholder farmers, who own at least half an acre, to benefit from the 2016/17 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp).
In an interview yesterday, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda said the farmers, who are among the 900 000 beneficiaries of Fisp, are expected to produce at least 140 000 metric tonnes (MT) of maize.
He said: “The farmers will also be given treadle pumps while those with pieces of land will be given motorised pumps for effective production.”
The 28th Fisp Situation Report, dated April 19 2016 which The Nation has seen indicates that farm family lists have been made available to districts with a request that they be updated to facilitate preparation of the 2016/17 farm family data base.
On the criteria of identifying beneficiaries, Chaponda said land availability or has been included to ensure that farmers do not only have food, but a surplus to sell and earn an income.
He said last year’s programme had some errors in the way the selection process was done because some registered beneficiaries had died while others had moved to towns and cities.
Chaponda said once beneficiaries have been identified, the computerised system will select its beneficiaries after cross-checking the names and other requirements.
Commenting on reduced beneficiaries from the normal 1.5 million smallholder farmers, Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Alfred Kapichira Banda said the country will register low harvest.
He said: “The solution is for government to raise more money and continue with the 1.5 million beneficiaries.”
Fisp was introduced in 2005 to boost household food security through provision of farm inputs at subsidised prices, notably fertiliser and hybrid seed to smallholder farmers.