Government suspends AIP fertiliser redemption
The Ministry of Agriculture has temporarily suspended the scanning of farmers’ identity (ID) cards for redemption of Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) materials in order to clear the backlog of scanned IDs.
Principal Secretary for Irrigation Geoffrey Mamba said, currently, they have a backlog of 10,064 metric tonnes (mt) of NPK and 26,461.50mt of Urea which are yet to be delivered to beneficiaries whose IDs were already scanned.
Mamba said this when he appeared before Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture members Thursday.
“The idea was that we should quicken up the process. We promised that we would be delivering within 24 hours. We scan and deliver within 24 hours but, because of the rainy season, we have been unable to do as expected. So, in some areas, the IDS were scanned and the product was not supplied on time,” he said.
According to the ministry, the redemption rate of NPK is at 77.43 percent while that of Urea is at 58.65 percent, in both cases slightly higher than during the same period last year.
AIP Coordinator Justin Kagona told the committee that, as at January 31 2023, the programme had delivered 168,324mt against the target of 247,384mt of maize.
During the meeting, Ministry of Agriculture officials told committee members that the seed redemption window remains closed as the process was suspended after they received reports that some agro-dealers were selling underweight packages to farmers.
In the 2022-23 farming season, the government targeted 2.48 million beneficiaries, with 10,500 farming households earmarked for livestock production.
The government-approved budget was pegged at K109 billion, with farmers expected to contribute K74.2 billion.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Committee of Parliament Chairperson Sameer Suleman has described this year’s AIP as a mess.
He cited poor preparations and politicisation of the programme among the factors that have affected implementation.
“Preparations were not done right. There was a lot of interference. As I am speaking, transporters do not want to transport fertiliser because of the rates being offered to them. We should not have experienced this because everything was budgeted for,” he said.
So far, the Northern Region has received 14,599mt, Central Region 53,752mt while the Southern Region has received 27,429mt of NPK.