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Farm inputs elude Chakwera village

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President Lazarus Chakwera has said his home village, Malembo, is one of the villages missing from the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) database.

Chakwera disclosed this in Lilongwe on Wednesday when he launched the National Clean-Up Day.

The missing of Chakwera’s village from the records brings to light some of the teething challenges the subsidised input programme is facing.

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Among other challenges, the programme, which targets 4.3 million smallholder farmers, has been rocked by network outages and names missing from the database.

Traditional Authority Malili brought out the issue of names missing in the database during the launch.

According to Malili, many people in his area are worried that they would not buy the subsidised inputs because their names are not in the register.

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“May I request you, the President, to do something about this because some of the farmers in my area are now worried that they may not access subsidised fertiliser and seeds this year,” Malili said.

Chakwera admitted that the problem of names missing in the register was a serious one, saying he got a phone call in which he was informed that, even in his home village, all the names were not in the AIP database.

“They phoned me from my home village and I learned that names of all people in the village were missing. I can assure you that the problems you are facing are not exclusive to your areas. Even in the home village of the President the situation is the same.

“So I told the one who phoned me to go to agriculture advisers and the Extension Planning Area to explain what had gone wrong. They will tell you what has happened. It’s not for the President to tell the agriculture officials to reconsider someone just because they have reported to the President,” Chakwera said.

He said, after conducting investigations into the issue, it was uncovered that names of people from his home village had inadvertently been transferred to Malingunde.

‘This means that another village in Malingunde is missing [from the database]. Some of these issues can be done by mistake but there are other people who do it deliberately.

“In the past most of the villages were just on paper and non-existent on the ground. We are saying no to corruption. We want Malawians to benefit from the programme,” Chakwera said.

A recent snap survey by the Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) revealed that unscrupulous vendors were having an early Christmas by preying on AIP beneficiaries.

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