• Thu. Aug 3rd, 2023

Chakwera Government geared to deliver AIP program in good time this year

Aug 2, 2023

Chakwera Government geared to deliver AIP program in good time this year

In February, 2023 Malawi President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera delivered State of the Nation Address (Sona).

In his Sona, Chakwera focused on Agriculture Input Programme as one of his pillars and vehicle to transform the economy.

Chakwera ordered that this year’s program should kick start quickly to avoid challenges that were faced last year.

The president started by reminding Malawians that his administration supported 3.7 million smallholder farming households with 370,000 Metric Tonnes of fertilizer and 12,698 Metric Tonnes of seeds, resulting in a 21% increase in maize production and a national surplus of over 1 million Metric Tonnes in the 2020/2021 farming season.

Chakwera said despite adverse weather conditions such as the late and violent start of the rains during the 2021/2022 planting season, his administration still managed to support 3.25 million smallholder farming households with 350,000 Metric Tonnes of fertilizer and 13,318 Metric Tonnes of seeds, resulting in the production of 3.716 million Metric Tonnes of maize and a national surplus of 387,197 Metric Tonnes.

Commenting on 2022/2023 planting season, Chakwera acknowledged that AIP faced administrative challenges that resulted in the September deadline set for its rollout to be missed.

“But when this happened, I took decisive and corrective steps by appointing a new Minister of
Agriculture and making personnel changes at the Ministry. Since then, the Ministry has been working around the clock to catch up.

Although some farmers
have struggled to access the commodity, we have made a lot of progress in catching up. As of three days ago, the programme has achieved a redemption rate
of 73.74%, just 1.5% shy of what it was at this point last year,” he said.

Government has since registered tremendous achievements and has met most targets.

Currently Government has already awarded contracts to thirteen (13) fertilizer suppliers who are expected to supply 149, 164 metric tons of NPK and Urea fertilizer through Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) regional warehouses in Chilimba in Blantyre, Kanengo in Lilongwe and Luwinga in Mzuzu.

According to the Principal Secretary Dixie Kampani, the supply of fertilizers to these warehouses will commenced on 2nd July 2023.

Kampani says the procurement of transportation services is at advanced stage; including evaluation of bidders who have expressed interest to be engaged in the programme by submitting their bidding documents and award of contracts to successful transporters is expected to be done by 31st July, 2023.

The PS says procurement of seeds *and goats* for the programme has already been advertised in the newspapers.

“It is expected that smallholder farmers will access farm inputs before the onset of first planting rains. The Ministry commits to frequently give updates on the progress made in the implementation of the programme. The smallholder farmers are requested to prepare their gardens in preparation for 2023/2024 growing season,” Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale wrote on his Facebook page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.