Government says it has selected 87 private companies to supply fertilizer in the Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) in the 2020/21 farming season.
Agriculture Minister, Lobin Lowe, has told Parliament that out of 87 fertilizer suppliers, 49 are owned by indigenous Malawians representing 60% and that ADMARC and Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) will also be offered similar contracts.
Lowe has told YFM online that his Ministry has also put in place effective measures including use of biometric data and will continue publishing farming household register to promote transparency.
Lowe said: “Our observation is that with FISP and the use of coupons, suppliers could go into the village and buy coupons, present them for payment and at the end of the day it was a farmer who suffered because he could not use the fertilizer so what we have done is to ensure that farmers benefit.”
He further said, in order to deal with corruption, the ministry has introduced a system which will use identities (IDs) and the database in the Ministry has been linked with the National Registration Bureau (NRB).
“Through the system, inputs suppliers will have smart phones which will be linked to the ministry’s database so that once the supplier procures the inputs the database will indicate the transaction and no middlemen will be allowed in the process,” said Lowe.
Chakwera’s administration has come up with AIP initiative replacing the previous regime’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme which used coupons.
AIP is expected to benefit 4.3 million smallholder farmers with access to affordable inputs including fertilizer at K4, 495 per 50 kg bag.