Government and stakeholders in Dowa have resorted to signing a memorandum of understanding with its private farm input suppliers in the next implementation of 2021/2022 Affordable Input Program so that beneficiaries access it easily.
The resolution came after it was observed that some approved suppliers in district were concentrating on trading centres which contributed to the beneficiaries walking long distances.
The district’s AIP review meeting which was conducted on 02 March 2021 at Mponela RTC revealed that there were some technical challenges during the implementation period.
It was observed that the private suppliers instead of going to their designated markets concentrated on trading centres, which the officials felt was attributed by failure to have memorandum of understanding in place.
Director of Administration for Dowa District Boniface Macheka spoke on the 2020/2021 AIP experience which he said exposed farmers to walking long distances.
“It was really a challenge because there was no formal agreement between us and the suppliers on where exactly to place their markets but come the next growing season we shall have to sign an agreement,” he said.
It was also disclosed that out of 181 848 beneficiaries only 167 099 bags of 50 kg NPK fertilizer was redeemed while 170 095 bags of 50 kg Urea were also redeemed and only 91 890 people accessed cereals.
This represents 92% of the proposed beneficiaries benefiting from the program and concluded that this was so due to loss of identity cards, deaths, transfers among others.
In her remarks acting director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources for Dowa District, Vetta Mzirahowa, said their first round of projection on production of maize has been increased with 20% which she said is good for food security in the district.
Mzirahowa commended the use of ICT system in the implementation of the Affordable Input Program saying it reduced costs as well as corruption.
The government of Malawi introduced AIP and targeted 4, 279 100 farm households in the 2020/2021 budget with a purpose of attaining food security at household and national level in order to reduce poverty.
By Kaitano Lubrino