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Chakwera admits 2022 AIP has not been easy

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President Lazarus Chakwera has said the launch of the 2022 Affordable Input Programme (AIP) yesterday is a relief to his government.

Chakwera was speaking at Maonde Primary School ground in Dedza, where he launched the programme.

“It was not easy to have the programme on track as there have been so many challenges. Let me thank development partners and companies that have made AIP dream come true,” Chakwera said.

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Chakwera assured Malawians that government has put in place adequate security measures in this year’s programme to keep vendors from benefiting from the cheap fertiliser.

He said the country has been grappling with greedy spirit which needs to be stopped. The President has encouraged farmers to join cooperatives for easy sale of farm produce.

REACHING OUT —Chakwera
shakes hands with elderly

On his part, Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale disclosed that fertiliser for the programme has started arriving in all parts of the country.

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Member of Parliament for Dedza South West constituency Clement Mlomba asked government to provide security to agents tasked with selling affordable fertiliser.

He expressed fear that the fertiliser could be smuggled to Mozambique.

The launch comes while government is grappling to recover K750 million which it was duped of by a United Kingdom firm Barkaat Foods Limited which it had contracted to supply 25,00 metric tons for the programme.

In contracting Barkaat Foods Limited, government breached own earlier stand not to deal with middlemen.

It also emerged that government undertook the contract without conducting due diligence and bypassing the vetting processes by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA).

The chaos in the run up to the launch has had some casualties. Principal Secretary Sandram Maweru had his contracted terminated and Lobin Lowe and her deputy Madalitso Kambauwa were sacked from cabinet.

Government says the programme will benefit 2.5 million people. But some quarters question this considering that prices of fertiliser have doubled from the time government formulated the budget.

The implementation of the programme made part of the subjects of an inquiry by a parliamentary committee which is yet to release its report.

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