Politicians warned against politicizing FISP

The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has warned politicians against involving politics in this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) coupons distribution exercise with the aim of gaining political mileage.

Chairperson for the committee, Joseph Chidanti Malunga, sounded the warning as this year’s coupon distribution exercise is expected to coincide with political campaigns as the country approaches 2019 tripartite elections.

Malunga said: “It’s unfortunate that some politicians misuse government resources to gain their own political mileage and a practical example is how the FISP program is usually handled where some people take advantage of their political muscle to favor their political affiliates when identifying the beneficiaries of the program and as a committee we always rebuke such malpractices in strongest terms.”

Malunga added that government cannot manage to reach all the needy people, who are about five million countrywide, but instead only one million are targeted.

“If only DADOs (District Agriculture Development Officers) and traditional leaders were entirely involved in identifying of beneficiaries as required by the initiative, then we believe only the needy who can also manage to farm would have been benefiting but when politicians intervene the whole process gets marred with favors and as a result a handful of one million needy people are trampled,” he lamented.

Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is expected to launch this year’s distribution exercise of Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) coupons on October 8 in Mangochi District.

About one million needy Malawians will benefit from this year’s FISP with an individual receiving four coupons, two coupons for two-50Kg bags of fertilizer (NPK and Urea), one coupon for cereals and another for maize seed.

This year’s figure of one million beneficiaries reflects an increase by 100,000 from last year’s figure of 900,000 beneficiaries.

K41.5 billion was budgeted for FISP in the 2018/19 financial year.

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