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Agro-dealers want seed subsidy back

Agro-dealers in the country have asked the government to rescind its decision to remove maize seed from the farm input subsidy programme (Fisp).

Agro-dealers Association of Malawi president Samuel Mkwate said there is no logic in removing the maize seed component, leaving legume seeds and fertilizer intact.

He said Malawi relies on maize as its staple food, hence the absence of the maize seed will affect production.

“With climate change, hybrid seed are critical in ensuring that farmers get drought resistance seed that can provide good yields even in abnormal seasons. Removing maize seed from the subsidy will just worsen hunger in the country,” said Mkwate.

Kingdom Pest Control director, Kennedy Nagoli, said the government would end up spending more through food relief next year than it would have invested in maize seed subsidy if it goes ahead to exclude the seed from Fisp.

“Maize production will definitely go down because not all farmers can afford to buy certified maize seed on their own,” said Nagoli.

He said in the absence of the subsidy, most farmers will be forced to use low yielding uncertified maize seed.

Olive Temani of Kantemeni agro dealers said maize seed sells are likely to go down especially in rural areas where there are small scale farmers.

She wondered how farmers can afford to buy maize seed at K7,000 for a five kilogramme packet when they were failing to buy the same K150 at using a subsidy coupon.

“Small scale farmers will be forced to plant seed that might not even germinate. Even if they are given fertilizer, nothing will improve the yield. Money will be wasted on fertilizer as well as the legume seed, which in most cases are not even planted,” said Temani.

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