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Government adamant on AIP price

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Lobin Lowe

The Ministry of Agriculture has insisted that K27,000 is the price it will pay private suppliers of fertiliser per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag of fertiliser under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).

Minister responsible Lobin Lowe said the government does not have additional funds, citing it as the reason it will not be moved on the issue of price.

This comes against the background that some of the suppliers that were supposed to supply about 800,000 bags are shunning business, demanding that they cart home more than K27,000 per 50 bag of the soil-enriching commodity.

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Lowe told Parliament Thursday that, at the current price, the government is paying K19,500 per bag or a she-goat while the farmer is paying K7,500.

The government is also paying K3,365 per pack of cereals.

“This implies that the government is contributing a total of K42,365 per farmer to the crop production package and K39,000 to livestock,” Lowe said..

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The minister argued that, at the global level, fertiliser prices for a 50kg bag do not go beyond K25,000.

Mulanje South West legislator George Chaponda and that for Thyolo Central Ben Phiri had asked Lowe to come out clear on what the government was doing on the fertiliser stand-off, claiming that some of the suppliers were reluctant to supply the commodity because of lower places.

Lowe told Parliament that the 40,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer that were supposed to be supplied by 13 suppliers that have not signed the contracts would be shared among those already on the market

Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation and Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund would supply 34 percent of the inputs while 66 percent will be the share for private traders.

The ministry has indicated that the sale of 60,000 goats under AIP would commence next week.

Under the 2021-22 AIP, 371,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser will be sold to buyers.

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