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Anxiety builds up over Fisp

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As the farming season is drawing closer, lack of information on Farm Input Subsidy (Fisp) has started causing anxiety in some would-be beneficiaries.

Government is yet to start distributing the subsidised farm inputs, at a time some districts have already started receiving early rains.

It is understood that identification of beneficiaries has not been completed.

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While saying the delay may be understandable, Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet), says failure by government to provide information on the matter is just aggravating the situation.

“I believe this lack of updates is not deliberate. Government is not confident enough to tell Malawians what is happening. But the farmers need to plan. The silence is not helping matters. It seems government doesn’t have answers on how the programme will be implemented,” said Cisanet National Coordinator Tamani Nkhono Mvula.

He added: “At the moment, a list of beneficiaries is not yet there. We don’t even know when fertiliser will be in and when distribution is going to start.”

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In an interview Thursay, Minister of Agriculture, Allan Chiyembekeza, said although government has been facing hurdles in the 2015/16 programme, all is set for the rolling out.

“The amount of money that was given to us, to begin with, we thought was going to be enough, at the exchange rate that was there the time the money was being allocated. But barely a month later, things started changing. We discovered that the money available may not be enough for the whole programme. So, we started negotiating with our development partners and also with the suppliers. We have taken a long time to agree, at what price the fertiliser is going to be supplied,” Chiyembekeza said.

He also said all the issues that affected the rolling out of the programme have now been resolved.

“I’m glad to say that the whole process is complete. As I am speaking now, the contracts are now being drawn, and any time next week distribution will start. The good news is that we have already some stock of 12.5 metric tonnes.

 

We are going to start distributing that,” he said.

He added that this year ’s suppliers will continue after that consignment is distributed.

“We hope by November 15 or thereabouts many places will have received the inputs,” he added.

On beneficiary identification, Chiyembekeza said the process has already been completed in 15 districts.

“By close of business today (yesterday), the list of beneficiaries will have been completed. Beginning from Monday next week, we are going to finish the process in the remaining districts. It has taken a bit long because we have a fairly new system…We are no longer identifying beneficiaries under a Mango tree at village level. We decided to use a system that is centralised. That has taken a bit of time, because it’s new and the people needed to know how best to handle it. We are making very good progress,” Chiyembekeza said.

In July this year, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that beneficiaries will be contributing K3,500 each for Urea and NPK bags, K1,000 for maize seed and K500.

It was later learnt that the maize seed component was removed from the programme.

The minister has since appealed to beneficiaries to. Be ready with the money to buy the inputs.

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