Government has reduced number of beneficiaries for the Farm Input Programme (AIP) from the initial registered 4, 279, 10 to 3, 675, 97 beneficiaries.
Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe told journalists in Lilongwe that the reasons for the reduction include deaths, duplications and farming households which cannot be traced.
“The programme is therefore covering all these 3, 675, 972 smallholder farming households in the country which include the less privileged like the elderly, orphans and child headed household,” said Lowe.
Lowe said that as Wednesday this week, a total of 251, 020 farmers representing 7% of targeted beneficiaries had fully redeemed their fertilizers while 226, 887 representing 6% had collected their seed allocation.
On poor network connectivity being experienced by most areas across the country, the Agriculture Minister said his Ministry has engaged the service providers to fix the challenge and ensure that there is able transactions.
“It is reported that there is slow network in some areas which is leading to slowness in completing redeeming transactions of farm inputs.
“I would like to report that my Ministry is working tirelessly to ensure that the problem is resolved once for all.
“We have engaged service providers to boost or to fix the network to ensure that there are efficient transactions in all the selling points,” said Lowe.
Government has since warned that the law will take its course to all unscrupulous vendors and companies dwindling the progress of the programme.