The Ministry of Agriculture has indicated that beneficiaries under the 2022-23 Affordable Inputs Programme have begun redeeming both seeds and fertilisers in 25 districts of the country.
Though details remain sketchy on the modalities of redeeming the items, The Daily Times understands that, since Monday, farmers have been able to buy cheap fertiliser through farmer clubs while redemption of seed began on Wednesday.
In an interview, ministry spokesperson Geoffrey Banda said, so far, over 70,000 bags of fertiliser have been accessed but asked for more time to obtain figures for the quantity of seed supplied to farmers.
“We have delayed because we were waiting for a no-objection from the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority. We got that this week and started the process right away. There may be a slight change in the quantities to be supplied but I need to verify that first. I will come back to you,” Banda said.
In a separate interview, Business Development Officer for Seed Trade Association of Malawi Supply Chisi confirmed the development.
“Our members have, indeed, signed contracts and have since started supplying seeds to farmers. The number of suppliers has increased to 13, with three new suppliers from 11 last year, and one of the suppliers who participated last year has been dropped,” Chisi said.
Commenting on the development, agriculture policy expert Leonard Chimwaza faulted the government for delaying the process, saying it will still affect yield at the end of the season.
“Delays to commence implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme will affect productivity,” he said.