Government Tuesday launched the 2019/2020 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) at Migowi Primary School in Phalombe District.
Speaking ahead of the launch on Monday, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said beneficiaries of the programme have already been identified and that coupons are already in the country.
“We want to give the farmers enough time to find money that they will use to top up on the coupon values. The coupons already arrived in the country and in some areas, they will be distributed soon after the launch of the programme tomorrow [Tuesday],” Nankhumwa said.
He added that 900,000 targeted farmers this year will benefit from 90,000 metric tonnes (MT) of fertiliser (45,000 NPK and 45,000 Urea); 4,500 MT of maize seed, 30 MT of sorghum seeds, and 50 MT of rice seed.
There are also over 900 MT of seeds for soya bean, beans, groundnuts, cowpeas and pigeon peas.
Nankhumwa said the farmers would be paying the difference between the market value of the farm inputs and the coupon value.
He also said for this year’s exercise, government has awarded contracts to 57 private suppliers and two public institutions, Agricultural Development and Marketing Cooperation and Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) to distribute the inputs close to the farmers to minimise transport costs incurred by farmers.
He said in order for the programme to be successful, there is need for inputs to be of the right quality and quantity, saying a team of scientists from the Department of Agriculture Research Services will continuously assess the inputs in all selling points.
“Besides use of government research scientists for quality control, other stakeholders like the Malawi Bureau of Standards, the Malawi Police service, civil society organisations, and the media will also be monitoring quality of inputs,” he said.
SFFRFM Chief Executive Officer Andrex Kalinde said they are ready for this year’s Fisp.