President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has assured Malawians of continued Affordable Input Programme [AIP] despite fertilizer companies deliberately hiking fertilizer prices which has reached K40,000 per bag.
President Dr. Chakwera said people keeping Malawi going are farmers, if there are people he fought hard to alleviate their sufferings, are farmers warning those who are punishing Malawians through hiking fertilizer prices deliberately that they are fighting against him and will not succeed.
He said his Government will not entertain companies hiking fertilizers assuring farmers in Malawi that they will buy the commodity at K4,495 as was the case of the 2020/21 farming season.
Speaking at the Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe in a special address to the nation on the status of the Affordable Input Programme [AIP], Dr. Chakwera directed that no single farmer, village will be removed from the list of beneficiaries of the subsidy program for 2021/22 farming season.
,”…What my Government will do, will be announced in days to come but today, I will not allow Affordable Input Programme [AIP] to be derailed…,’’ said Dr. Chakwera.
In an earlier letter to District Commissioners of July 2021, Government made a decision of scaling down the number of beneficiaries from 3.5 million as of 2020/21 farming season to 2.7 million in this 2021/22 farming season citing financial constraints and rising cost of fertilizer as a contributing factor.
Government directed that the scaling down of beneficiaries should start from the village level and the list should reach the Ministry of Agriculture headquarters before 12th August 2021, a development which all Agricultural Extension Development Coordinators [AEDC] complied with as they were in the villages doing the exercise to meet the due date.
However, the announcement by President Dr. Chakwera that no farmer or village beneficiaries will be reduced in the 2021/22 farming season has met with mixed reactions faulting the President for contradicting with his Agriculture Minister, Hon. Lobin Lowe MP.
Social media commentators have described this contradiction as something wrong in the Chakwera-Chilima government that Ministers on their own can make decisions before consulting the President to decide and in the case to a letter to District Commissioners for scaling down the number of AIP beneficiaries, President Dr. Chakwera was not consulted.
Meanwhile, a Malawi Congress Party [MCP] diehard of Mvera in Dowa district, Mr. Rodgers Kamphangala has once again warned President Dr. Chakwera to tread carefully with his inner circle claiming that not all are advising him to govern the country in good faith but are planting seeds for his downfall so that Malawians lose public trust in him.
Kamphangala said the announcement of scaling down the number of AIP beneficiaries, due to financial constraints and rising cost of fertilizer, has seen farmers loose confidence in Dr. Chakwera that he is not a servant-leader as promised expressing hope that since he has reverted to the previous number of beneficiaries, trust will come back.
“…Farmers and indeed all Malawians were angry with many questions than answers that Is this what they meant by Malawi wokomela tonse or wokomela those in government…,” said Kamphangala.
By Vincent Gunde