Seed traders press for reopening of markets
Seed traders have asked the government to consider reopening the redemption portal of seeds under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) to allow other smallholder farmers to access inputs now and during the winter cropping season.
Seed Traders Association of Malawi (Stam) Wednesday told the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture that the government only allowed them to sell the inputs for one month, leaving the redemption rate at 70 percent.
Stam Board Chairperson Chikondi Ng’ombe said the impromptu suspension of the redemption process affected farmers’ access to the seeds.
“We have had an engagement with Ministry of Agriculture and what we have requested is to allow reopening so that farmers can have access to it in winter,” he said
Twelve companies out of 24 members of the association participated in this year’s AIP.
Earlier, the committee engaged SeedCo Company and Demeter Agricultural Limited officials, who blamed the government for contributing to this year’s lower redemption of seeds among small-holder farmers.
SeedCo Company Managing Director Boyd Luwe said reduction in government’s contribution to the seed coupon under AIP was unfortunate.
Chairperson for the Committee Sameer Suleman agreed.