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Lazarus Chakwera hopeful on fertiliser prices

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Lobin Lowe

President Lazarus Chakwera has said his administration expects the price of fertiliser to drop in the near future following the completion of Liwonde Fertiliser Terminal in Machinga District.

Chakwera made the remarks when he opened the terminal, which Malawi Fertiliser Company Limited has constructed, Tuesday.

He said construction of the terminal fits well in Malawi 2063, which intends to create a Malawi which will be inclusive.

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“With the terminal, as well as other fertiliser blending companies which are available in the country, we expect prices of fertiliser to drop by around 30 percent because the company will be using local resources to process and blend fertiliser,” he said.

Chakwera said his administration had put much emphasis on revamping the agriculture sector to make it more responsive to the country’s needs.

“For us to achieve Malawi 2063 [goals], we need to start promoting the manufacturing sector as well as value-addition in the agriculture sector. By 2025, we need to have achieved at least 10 percent of what we plan to achieve by the year 2063; so, this terminal is a move in the right direction,” he said.

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The Malawi leader invited Malawians in the diaspora to invest in the country, citing a safe and viable environment for investment as one of the factors to work in their favour.

The President said the exit strategy for the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) was to have countless fertiliser companies that would be manufacturing the product locally.

“We want fertiliser to be exclusively cheap for the common Malawian to ensure that the country is food-secure,” Chakwera said.

He then urged companies in the country to promote employee welfare.

Malawi Fertiliser Company Chief Executive Officer Christos Giannakis said the company would also construct a modern laboratory to ensure that fertiliser which will be processed at the site meets standards.

Giannakis also said the company was in the process of constructing a 320-kilowatt solar plant as one way of ensuring reliable power supply.

According to Giannakis, the Liwonde fertiliser terminal, which has a storage capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes (mt), will also be blending and processing about 2,400mt of fertiliser every day.

Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe described fertiliser suppliers’ demand that they be allowed to sell a 50-kilogramme bag of fertiliser at K40,000 as the “joke of the season”.

Lowe said the government was expecting that suppliers of commodities to this year’s AIP would reduce the price, failing which government would explore other avenues, including engaging Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation and Smallholders Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund.

He said the government would not bow down to pressure from fertiliser suppliers who want to sell the commodity at an exorbitant price.

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