By Chisomo Phiri
The Tonse Alliance government led by President Dr.Lazarus Chakwera has announced that the 2023/24 Affordable Input Programme ( AIP) will rollout in June this year and that all beneficiaries will receive fertiliser by end of November 2023.
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale made the announcement in Parliament on Wednesday during committee of supply on Vote 190 Ministry of Agriculture following inquiries from MPs on government preparedness such as procurement of fertiliser and inadequate resources to run a smooth programme
Among others, Kawale said government will take advantage of the decline in global fertiliser prices by procuring early.
On his part, Chitipa south MP Welani Chilenga observed that the K117 billion allocated for AIP is not enough to carter for 1 million 750,000 beneficiaries arguing that out of the amount K6 billion will go towards crop .
Some lawmakers also sought answers on what will happen to beneficiaries whose coupons were redeemed but did not receive the fertiliser.
But Kawale informed the House that a number of development partners have committed to help fund AIP , and Japan has already injected a K2 billion donation.
He also gave assurances that every beneficiary whose coupon was scanned is going to receive fertiliser without fail.
Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe informed the House that government is prioritising partnerships with the private sector doing commercial farming in the implementation of Mega farms.
There were delays in the implementation of the 2022/2023 AIP programme, a situation which angered many farmers.