As the 2020/21 Affordable Input Programme (AIP) comes to an end on Friday this week, the Ministry of Agriculture has projected that the country would register a 17.5 percent increase in maize output.
It cites implementation of the programme, which achieved a 91 percent target outreach after 3.4 million farmers received the inputs.
Ministry spokesperson Gracian Lungu told The Daily Times that the third crop assessment report shows that the country will harvest 4, 447 494 metric tonnes (mt) of maize this season as compared to the 2019/20 season, when the country harvested 3,785,712mt.
“The fertiliser uptake has increased tremendously, something that has given us hope. Even the crop estimate we have is showing that we have gone up [in maize production] with 17.5 percent,” Lungu said.
He said farmers also benefitted from hybrid seeds, which are said to have contributed to the “promising crop outlook”.
Lungu, however, indicated that there are about 300,000 beneficiaries who are yet to redeem their inputs.
In Chikwawa and Nsanje, for example, only 80 and 77 percent of the beneficiaries, respectively, have redeemed their inputs.
The two districts have the lowest number of farmers who have redeemed their inputs.
“We have seen a high increase in production in some agricultural development divisions (ADD), except Shire Valley ADD, which comprises Chikwawa and Nsanje.
“These two districts have influenced a low production because of dry spells and floods,” he said.
Malawi needs about 3.3 million mt of maize every year, which means, if the country realises the projected tonnes, there will be a surplus of over 1.4 million mt.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.