Investigations this publication has carried out in Malawi’s northern region shows that the Peter Mutharika led government’s dithering can possibly worsen the hunger situation in the country.
Some traditional leaders across the region stressed their worries to our reporter saying they have no hope that their subjects will harvest enough this year due to some problems which they said have emerged due to poor governance on the part of the Mutharika administration especially in the agriculture sector.
They also complained that with the coming of his administration, the program of farm inputs subsidy (FISP) has totally been affected such that in their areas most people are yet to access the fertilizer as well as seeds for their fields, and this will see them delay in planting their crops.
“Probably the worst we have ever had, Mutharika government is leading us to hell for sure. Look we are likely to have hunger beyond next year because many people are still failing to access farm inputs on subsidy,” said Village Headman Myangala of Nkhatabay.
In Mzimba, chiefs say most people are just keeping their coupons without using them because there is nowhere they can buy the inputs.
Traditional Authority Mthwalo told our reporter that his subjects are totally confused such that most of them are beginning to give up. He said suppliers of the inputs are yet to deliver the same in his whole area, a situation which he said will see many people not farming because they banked their hopes on the same FISP. “They are yet to deliver fertilizer here. Many people are afraid and confused to the extent that most of them are beginning to give up on their farming this year a thing which may risk another extreme hunger next year,” said Mthwalo.
In Rumphi, Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe is a very worried man as well because government is not giving them any hope in the fight against food insecurity in the country as evidenced by the delay in supplying inputs under FISP in his area. He said many people are yet to access inputs under FISP in his area despite having good rains this year.
“We expect another great hunger because many people are likely not to farm this year as government is delaying to supply inputs under FISP which many of my subjects are depending on,” he said.
Such problems are believed to have come due to the decision by the Mutharika government to change the system of facilitating the program. Our findings in some agro-dealers across the northern region indicate that the cost of fertilizer has also shot up making many poor Malawians not to afford the fertilizer.
The minimum cost for 23:21 fertilizer was MK20,000 per 50kg bag while Urea was going at a minimum price of MK18,000 per 50kg bag.
Many farmers interviewed emphatically admitted that they may skip farming this year due to the cost of inputs which have skyrocketed.
Commenting on the matter, minister of agriculture, irrigation, and water development Allan Chiyembekeza assured Malawians that government is doing all it can to sort out the problems faced in the agriculture sector.
He said his ministry will push for suppliers of FISP to speed up the process.
“We will advise them to work hard during this Christmas so that they supply the inputs in the areas where farmers are yet to access the same. Let me assure all Malawians that government is doing all it can to fight food insecurity in the country,” he said.