Chaos that has rocked this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) is forcing some Members of Parliament (MPs) to dig deeper into their pockets in a bid to rescue desperate farmers who are not being supplied with fertiliser by private traders which government contracted for the 2016/2017 programme.
The MPs have since spoken of the need for Parliament to review the relevance of the whole programme considering that poor farmers who are supposed to benefit from it are being sidelined due to what they call man-made logistical challenges.
For instance, MP for Mangochi North Benedicto Chambo and MP for Mangochi Lutende Francis Billiati through their initiative have managed to transport about 136 metric tonnes of fertiliser from Blantyre to Makanjira and Namalaka while Admarc and some government-contracted suppliers have only transported a total of 60 metric tonnes.
As a result of the problems, farmers have expressed displeasure with the way this year’s programme is going on, and some of them have called government to adopt universal subsidy or abandon the whole arrangement because there is no difference waiting for subsided farm input or buying the commodity at regular prices.
MP for Mangochi Malombe, Kapichila Mussa, in an interview on Saturday complained that his area has not been supplied with fertiliser despite farmers planting their maize about four weeks ago.
Mussa said he is being forced to collect coupons and cash from farmers and buy them fertiliser so that they can apply in time because private traders are refusing to open shops in his area.
“I won’t be able to assist everyone. We are spending a lot of money to transport the fertiliser, yet Parliament approved funds to go towards the Fisp. This needs to be reviewed so that people are not inconvenienced next year,” said Mussa.
Mangochi District Agricultural Development Officer, Chimwemwe Chisenga, expressed concern over the way some suppliers are selling Fisp fertiliser this year.
“At this moment, we were supposed to have at least 80 percent of fertiliser sold to farmers. But we are only at 53 percent, which is not enough,” she said.
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