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Malawi government defends Fisp identification process

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Malawi government has defended its decision of changing identification process of Farm Input Subsidy Programme ( Fisp) saying it has helped to bring sanity in the implementation of the programme.

Identification for 2015/16 Fisp is being done centrally at Capital Hill a move which some quarters have criticised arguing that well deserving farmers are likely to be omitted as the selection is now done randomly.

Briefing journalists Tuesday in Lilongwe Minister Agriculture Allan Chiyembekeza observed that the previous process of identifying beneficiaries at an open forum by the communities was prone to abuse.

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Chiyembekeza said from various reviews of the Fisp, including the recent 2014/2015 review commissioned by DIFD, the results have shown that 25 percent of the selected beneficiaries are resource poor farmers, with the well to do farmers taking up about 50 percent of the selected beneficiaries.

“It is against this background that my ministry decided to register all maize growing farmers in the country. A total of 4.2 million maize growing Farmers were registered of which 1.5 million farmers were randomly selected as programme beneficiaries. The farmers that have benefited from this year’s programme will not have any chance of benefiting from next year’s programme,” the Minister said

Commenting on disagreements with suppliers over contracts, Chiyembekeza said discussions are still going on regarding payments but emphasized that all contracts have been pegged in Malawi kwacha.

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Said the Minister: “The kwacha is still fluctuating and if this is to go on then it means the suppliers will not be able to realise any profits after doing this job. “We are, therefore, still discussing on how much they should be paid but all contracts have been pegged in Malawi Kwacha.”

The Minister also indicated that initially government allocated 40,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser to be retailed by the private sector. However, this has been revised to 38,600 metric tonnes following the withdrawal of private companies from terrain challenged district of Nsanje, adding that the difference has since been allocated to the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc).

Chiyembekeza also disclosed that at least 50,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser has already been moved from the three main depots in the countries three regions.

Meanwhile, Chiyembekeza has given a deadline of Wednesday (today) for all transporters to start delivering the fertiliser failing which their contracts may be cancelled.

During this year’s programme, government has engaged 14 companies to supply fertiliser, 21 companies have been awarded contracts to transport the commodity while 17 companies have been selected to participate in seed retailing countrywide.

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