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Government snares Affordable Inputs Programme suppliers

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The Ministry of Agriculture has given suppliers of farm inputs under the 2021-22 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) up to January 26 2022 to produce documents relating to supplies.

A memo, dated January 21 2022 and signed by Agriculture Ministry Principal Secretary Sam Maweru, indicates that the government has instituted a special team for the task.

The team is working under the Office of the President and Cabinet, according to the communication.

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Among other documents, the government wants delivery notes or invoices of the fertiliser supplied to the programme, declaration of sources of funds for the purchase of the fertiliser and mode of payment used for paying the supplier.

As for those who imported inputs, the government has demanded documents such as Malawi Revenue Authority paperwork, Malawi Bureau of Standards Certification and Bill of Lading.

The government also wants to know brands of fertilisers each supplier supplied and, in the case of those who sourced fertiliser locally, it is demanding a letter from their suppliers confirming that they, indeed, bought the inputs from such suppliers.

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The government also says it wants to know details of transporters, including vehicle registration numbers, names of drivers and whether they were paid.

“Please be informed that this information has to be submitted by Wednesday, January 26 2022, to my office through AIP Coordinator Mr Antony Bendulo,” the memo reads.

Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Grecian Lungu authenticated the memo but declined to give reasons as to why the government was looking for documents at this stage.

The development comes at a time there are reports that some suppliers have been supplying farmers with fertiliser mixed with sand.

The government has also been at loggerheads with suppliers on the prices of the commodity, which it deems too expensive.

This year’s programme has been affected by inadequate supplies of fertiliser and, in some cases, only one type of fertiliser was available at a time.

The government is targeting 3.7 million farmers in this year’s AIP.

This far, 2,619,647 bags of NPK fertiliser have been sold against 1,880,168 bags of Urea which have been sold.

In total, 4,499, 815 bags of fertiliser have been sold and, out of desperation, some farmers resorted to buying two bags of fertiliser of one type.

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