The Ministry of Agriculture office in Dowa says 3 of the fertilizer suppliers allocated to the district to supply Affordable Inputs Programme [AIP], have not yet reported on the ground; some reported late and some did not have constant supply of inputs in their shops, a development which is worrisome to the beneficiaries and the Agriculture Office in the district.
The Agriculture office says as per allocation from the Ministry of Agriculture, the district was allocated 18 fertilizer suppliers in its 10 EPAs, the district lobbied with already existing suppliers to the serve the farmers to make it 30 including seed suppliers.
The office is still receiving reports that in some parts of the district, the inputs have not yet arrived citing Chisepo EPA which is the hardest hit out of all EPAs in the district.
According to reports monitored by the Agriculture office, many beneficiaries in the Chisepo EPA have not accessed the fertilizers and are still keeping their National IDs, reminding the authorities to serve the communities of the Chisepo zone.
Presenting a progress report on AIP to the District executive committee [ Dec] at a meeting held at the Dowa boma, Acting Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources for Dowa, Vetta Mzirahowa, said a total of 196,511 farming households were registered from the 2018/19 data base to benefit from the 2020/21 growing season.
Dowa Dec members being briefed on AIP updates
Mzirahowa said a total of 181,282 households with National Identity Cards were approved by the National Registration Bureau [NRB] as beneficiaries of the programme in 2020/ 2021 agriculture season.
She said out of 196, 511 households, some beneficiaries had wrong Identity card numbers, with some households having no IDs against their names, prompting the District Agriculture office embarking on correction and verification of the IDs, saying data entry was done and submitted to the Ministry.
The Director said suppliers from Nambuma have been asked to extend their coverage to Chisepo EPA. In order to address the challenges saying some of the challenges are beyond the office’s reach but the office is trying within its means.
Meanwhile, Government has decided to engage the Malawi Defense Force [MDF] Soldiers in the distribution of AIP resources to the hard to reach areas where many farmers are yet to redeem their inputs because contracted suppliers are not reaching these areas.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Erica Maganga, in the week, told the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, that while 80 percent of the beneficiaries have redeemed the inputs, many farmers are yet to redeem their inputs because contracted suppliers are not reaching these areas.
At least 3.7 million farming households in the country are expected to benefit from the 2020/2021 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
By Vincent Gunde