By Linda Kwanjana
As directed by Malawi President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, Minister of Agriculture Sam Dalitso Kawale says this year’s Agricultural Input Program is progressing well with limited challenges.
Addressing a press briefing on progress done so far on AIP, Kawale accompanied by Minister of Information and Digitalisation Moses Kunkuyu, said the programme is progressing well and issues arising are being addressed promptly by concerned personnel.
“After a sensitization meeting at the council and ADC levels, more districts commenced redemption this week as we speak 96,390 beneficiaries had redeemed NPK fertilizer, and 103,367 beneficiaries had redeemed Urea fertilizer from 26 Agriculture districts,” he said.
The Ministers gave detailed information being done to make this year’s programme a success and make food security a reality in the country, through other programmes like agriculture commercialisation and mega farms.
On villages being committed and other names missing, the minister said all is being done to correct the annomally. He said The ministry’s I.T are working tirelessly to sort out the problems.
“As of Tuesday, 36% of fertiliser has been dispatched on the market,” he added.
Kawale commended development partner IFAD for supporting the programme with about 120,000 bags of fertiliser.
He said Ports of Beira, Nacala and Dar es salaam are handling more fertiliser for the country.
This far, $13.9 million dollars letter of credit worth of fertiliser has been disbursed with $18.3m being issued.
Kawale said $14.9m letter of credit worth of fertiliser being vetted and another $14.5m letter of credit to be vetted.
Other suppliers are being paid in local currency.
Minister Kawale asked beneficiaries of the programme not to sale their fertilisers so as to achieve food security as envisaged by the president Chakwera’s govt.
The market has enough fertiliser than already redeemed, he said.
Hard to reach areas like Makanjira in Mangochi are likely to be done within this week,so is the North, Neno and Ntchisi respectively.
“Mobile markets will soon be opened to expedite the process. NBS bank are on a daily basis collecting cash from all selling points to reduce issues of cumulative cash in these markets,” he saud.
He also revealed that Admarc and SFFRM points are now the sales points.
The Minister has since disclosed that the much awaited Toll Free number 3013 has been established,and is running to curb issues of corruption.