The Ministry of Agriculture has said as of November 24, only 18 percent of the targeted population under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) accessed the inputs.
This means only 666, 000 people have accessed the inputs out of the targeted population of 3.7 million farmers.
This is less than half of the earlier target of 50 percent by the end of the month.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Graciun Lungu attributed the pace to difficulties in reaching some areas and delays by some private traders to open outlets.
Lungu, however, expressed optimism that, by the end of next month, the ministry would have had distributed to all beneficiaries or close to the targeted population for the year.
“On the issue of some companies who said will not sign contracts, we have been scouting other means of supplying such as using Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation or National Food Reserve Agency,” he said.
Currently, one company withdrew from the deal while two others did not collect contract forms and eight others returned signed contracts.
Chikwawa is topping the distribution list as 52 percent of the targeted population has accessed the inputs while Nkhata Bay is the lowest at 5.7 percent.
Of the targeted population, only 15 percent have had to accesses seeds.
Reacting in a phone interview, local agriculturalist Tamani Nkhono Mvula said the figures are disappointing considering that the rains have already begun in Southern and Central regions.
He added that it is disappointing that government is not learning from past mistakes.
“Each and every year, there are recommendations on how the programme can be improved but we meet the same problems which make one wonder as to maybe some people benefit from these problems,” he said.
The AIP is targeting 3.5 million individuals across the country, which is the same population as last year.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.