AIP beneficiaries applaud govt for early start, hoping for high yields

By James Kanyenda

Affordable Inputs Program (AIP) beneficiaries have lauded government for early commencement of the 2023/24 AIP selling season, saying the move will enable them plant with first rains and apply fertilizer in time since by the onset of the first rains, they will have the inputs ready.

Speaking recently, AIP beneficiaries in Salima, Nkhotakota, Kasungu and Ntchisi said with the timely purchase of the inputs they foresee high yield in the harvesting season.

Diana Mbale from Bango village, Traditional Authority (TA) Mwadzama, Nkhotakota said during the previous AIP season she only managed to buy one bag out of two, a thing which affected her yield as the selling of inputs came to an end without her accessing Urea fertilizer.

“This year, I have bought two bags already, one for Urea and another one for NPK as well and maize seed before the onset of the rains, this simply means I will continue preparing my land whilst knowing the inputs are under my custody and come rains, I will be able to plant and apply fertilizer in time and realise good harvest in the end,” she said.

Geoffrey Chikaonda, another beneficiary from Damba village under TA Mwadzama in Nkhotakota echoed Mbale’s sentiments, saying all beneficiaries in his area have accessed inputs early this year unlike last year, and with an expectation that everything will be done on time, anticipation for bumper yields is a shared vision in the area.

Sebinati Moyenda, of Bondo village under TA Chilowamatambe, Kasungu said with the timely purchase of the inputs this year, she is hoping for a bumper yield of not less than 50 bags of maize, a thing which will contribute towards food security at her household.

AIP Desk Officer for Kasungu Agriculture Development Division (ADD) Lydia Mkandawire said their beneficiaries would have bought their inputs by the end of AIP selling season, as the program commenced earlier than last year.

“With this, we are hoping that our farmers will be able to harvest enough for their households with surplus to sell and earn income to uplift their lives,” she said.

AIP Desk Officer for Salima ADD, Lonzo Chirwa said the 2023/24 AIP season enjoyed an early launch by President Lazarus Chakwera on 20th October this year with a consideration that a farmer has to have his or her inputs in stock before the onset of the first rains, to avoid inconveniences.

“At first we experienced network challenges but ICT experts solved the issue once for all, now farmers are buying their inputs without challenges. With this timely purchase, our beneficiaries are having ample time to work in their fields so that at the onset of the first rains, everything should run smoothly,” said Chirwa.