The National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) has called for insuring of crops amid prospects of bumper harvesting season.
According to NASFAM Chief Executive Officer Dr Betty Chinyamunyamu, farmers in the country need to be empowered such that they insure their crops amid enrollment of the Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
The call for crop insurance comes weeks after government announced that the country is expected to produce about 6.8 million tonnes of maize with the AIP under favourable weather conditions.
In an interview, Dr Chinyamunyamu said government should consider risk management interventions amid unforeseen circumstances.
“We really want to have value from the billions of kwachas that have been allocated to AIP, we may end up losing all these0 resources, so it is necessary for government to also buy crop insurance for the nation so that we know that we are covered, insurance is a critical part of any business,” he emphasized.
During an earlier presentation made in Parliament by the Minister responsible for Agriculture Lobin Lowe said AIP will not sample farming households but it will provide fertilizers and improved cereal seed to all 4,279,100 farming households under the database in his Ministry.
“The smallholder farmers will have access to a total of 427,910 metric tonnes of fertilizer split halfway between NPK and Urea; and about 21,396 metric tonnes of cereal seed (maize, sorghum, rice),” Lowe said.
AIP replaced Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) which has been implemented for the last fifteen 15 years by the previous governments where a fraction of smallholder farmers registered with the Ministry of Agriculture were targeted for subsidies.