By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Lazarus Chakwera has once again said achievement of food security for every household in Malawi remains one of the three top priorities of his administration, saying the country can not afford to be a begging nation for food.
Speaking at Kavidebwere Primary School ground in the area of TA Kaluluma in Kasungu North, President Chakwera said his administration want Malawi not to be a begging nation, but self-reliant and a food basket for other nations.
“What we want to achieve is food security that promotes self-reliance, what we want to achieve is food security that upholds human dignity, what we want to achieve is food security that protects our national sovereignty, what we want to achieve is food security that builds our people’s capacity for economic prosperity.
This is why the Affordable Inputs Programme exists, this is why we look for ways to improve the programme’s delivery year after years. It is undisputed that for four years running now, the AIP has achieved food security for more Malawians than any programme like it in the past. So I am happy to yet again roll-out the AIP to empower millions of Malawians to grow their own food” Said President Chakwera.
However, President Chakwera told the nation that AIP is not meant for everyone as not all Malawians are for food production and will benefit from Social Cash Transfer, while others are engaged in commercial farming which is targeted through AGCOM with support from the World Bank.
But President Chakwera has directed that the Ministry of Agriculture should make sure the programme is finished within a period of 40 days from the date of its official launch.
Meanwhile, President Chakwera has encouraged Malawian farmers to venture into wheat production which has demonstrated to be viable cash crop through the four piloted varieties at Mpale Wheat Farm in Dowa whose demand is huge across the global.
In his remarks, Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale said the K109 billion programme is set to benefit 1.5 million households across Malawi at K15,000 per bag of fertilizer and a goat.
“You directed our Ministry, that those who will not benefit from the AIP have to benefit from other programmes. Therefore over 291,000 Malawians will benefit from Social Cash Transfer, others over 435,000 will be on Public Works programme to improve their livelihood, and we have over 75,000 people to benefit through AGCOM, and soon we will roll-out AGCOM2 project which has received assistance from the World Bank of over K265 billion and will benefit over 225,000 Malawians. This means over 1 million other Malawians will benefit from other programmes apart from the AIP beneficiaries” Added Kawale.
In his speech, Kawale told the nation that 73 percent of the AIP 2023-24 consignment is already in the country ready for redemption.
Speaking earlier, Member of Parliament for Kasungu North, Mike Bango commended President Chakwera for launching this year’s AIP in his constituency, saying his area is committed to register another success after being on record for being the constituency where inputs were highly redeemed in the last season.
Bango also commended President Chakwera for directing that this year farmers should redeem a bag of fertilizer at K15,000, the same price a bag of fertilizer was being sold last season under the programme.