The maize crisis that Malawi is currently facing has been blamed on the country’s over dependence on donors.
Economic experts say policies such as the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) which are aimed at ensuring food security depend on aid and since budgetary support dried up due to the cashgate scandal, it has been difficult for government to finance the programme.
“There is no doubt that the fertilizer subsidy was only feasible due to donor support. At best, it was unsustainable without continued donor support, at worst, it was an illusion built on aid,” said Ed Hobey, an analyst at Africa Risk Consulting.
Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe also told Reuters recently that the government will have to scale down expenditure on FISP in reaction to diminishing resources of funds for the budget.
FISP was launched in 2005 by former President Bingu wa Mutharika to provide subsistence farmers with two coupons which can be redeemed for two 50-kg bags of fertilizer. The beneficiaries make a modest contribution while government foots most of the bill.
Last year, a combination of floods, intermittent rainfall and prolonged dry spells at critical stages of maize development, led to a food deficit of 223,723 metric tonnes, for the first time since the introduction of FISP.
An assessment by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) shows that 2.8 million people in the country are facing hunger.