By Manasse Nyirenda – Mana
President Lazarus Chakwera has assured Malawians that the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) was on track for the 2020 to 2021 farming season.
The President made the remarks when he visited fertilizers warehouses for Malawi Fertilizer Company, Farmers World and Smallholder (Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund (SFFR) at Kanengo in Lilongwe ahead of the programme rollout.
He said although fertilizers in stock were not 100 percent ready, but was optimistic that it would soon be.
“I am satisfied that we have sufficient stock to get started as the other stocks are on the way. We should be able to rollout as early as next week,” Chakwera said.
Minister of Agriculture, Robin Lowe who accompanied the President said that the country has 160,000 tonnes of fertilizers representing 37 percent of the required stock.
He assured Malawians that the programme would be launched within the week or next.
SFFR Chief Executive Officer, Andy Kalinde whose organization is contributing 68,600 tonnes of fertilizers to the 2020 to 2021 farming season said his organization was on course to meet the demand.
“In this warehouse as we are and other stocks combined, we are currently running at 19,000 tones. But there is a lot of fertilizer coming in from Nacala Port.
“A Vessel has already docked which is carrying 38,500 tonnes and at Beira Port there is another vessel that is offloading and the stock is being discharged at Chilimba Depot in Blantyre and Luwinga in Mzuzu,” he said.
AIP replaced then Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme of the previous administration to align with the aspirations of the new Tonse Alliance administration.
Vice President Saulos Chilima and Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako also accompanied the President among other high profile persons.