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Rocketing fertiliser prices worry Lazarus Chakwera

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Sean Kampondeni

The State House has said President Lazarus Chakwera is worried with the sharp rise in prices of fertiliser in the country.

State House Director of Communication Sean Kampondeni said this in Lilongwe Monday during the fortnightly State House briefing.

The remarks from State House comes at a time the price of the soil-enriching commodity has hit K40,000 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag, thereby threatening the flagship Affordable Input Programme (AIP).

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Kampondeni said Chakwera has been engaging Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe, officials from Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation and other stakeholders in the industry to find a quick solution to the problem.

“President Chakwera would like to assure Malawians that if there is a single person in Malawi that has the welfare of farmers at heart, then it is him.

“The rise in fertiliser prices is an issue that is concerning the President because, if you remember very well in the last growing season, if there is one most important thing that Malawians across the country could point at as an achievement by President Chakwera, then it is the cheap fertiliser,” Kampondeni said.

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In July this year, the government announced that it had trimmed the number of AIP beneficiaries from the initial 3.7 million to 2.8 million, leaving at least one million vulnerable people to fend for themselves after the price hit K30,000 per bag earlier this year.

Farmers Union of Malawi President Frighton Njolomole recently observed that most Malawians would not afford to buy a bag of fertiliser this year.

“This means more people will not be able to grow enough food this year should the government fail to find alternative sources of funds to ensure that Malawians have access to affordable fertilisers and seeds,” he said.

In its Monetary Policy Report for July 2021 released last week, the Reserve Bank of Malawi has predicted that fertiliser prices are expected to increase in the second half of the year, which will result in deteriorating terms of trade in the short to medium term.

The prediction comes at the start of the lean season when Malawi imports the bulk of its agriculture inputs, especially fertiliser, in readiness for the next growing season.

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