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10 AIP suppliers yet to sign contracts

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Grecian Lungu

Ten out of 164 suppliers of fertiliser under the Agricultural Inputs Programme (AIP) have not signed contracts with the government, the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed.

The ministry’s spokesperson Gracian Lungu said the 10 private companies in question were supposed to bring into the country 40,000 metric tonnes (mt), which translate to 800,000 bags of fertiliser weighing 50 kilogrammes each.

“I must admit that there are 10 companies that are yet to sign the contracts. When we aggregate their tonnage, it is about 40,000 metric tonnes. We, as a ministry, are already working on procurement of a buffer stock which is around 150,000 metric tonnes,” he said.

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He indicated that the ministry was hopeful that, within a month, suppliers of the buffer stock would have started bringing the commodity into the country.

The 40,000mt will be supplied by the Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation and Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi.

On Tuesday this week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Agnes Mkusa Nkhoma told Parliament that some fertiliser suppliers were reluctant to supply the commodity because they were unhappy with the prices that the government was offering under AIP.

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Agriculture experts such as Tamani Nkhono Mvula have been challenging the government to expedite the programme, considering that the country has already entered into the farming season.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 583,804 bags of fertiliser had been sold under AIP, representing eight percent of the total target, by Tuesday this week.

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