Parliamentary candidates in Ntchisi have spoken against farm input subsidy program (FISP) labelling it as the source of divisions and poverty among the villagers.
Being one of major food producing districts in Malawi, it has been noted that most farmers in Ntchisi do not benefit from FISP as such they are still languishing in poverty despite their hard work.
The candidates made the remarks during the last debate organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) which was conducted on 24 April at Ntchisi Community Hall in the Southern part of the district.
“When you elect me as your member of parliament I will make sure that this policy is abolished and instead I will lobby for the universal subsidy program where everyone will benefit equally,” said MacPhysiqo Chisunzi of UTM in response to a question on how they will ensure fair distribution of the FISP.
On his part, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) candidate Ulemu Chilapondwa expressed optimism that the program will be abolished saying MCP is a government in waiting as such they have already put policies in place with the intention to uplift the farmers by introducing universal subsidy program.
“Only few people benefit from subsidy program and farmers are still living in poverty as they cannot afford to buy expensive fertilizer and they are forced into heavy loans which leave them with nothing after selling their crops,” said Chilapondwa.
An independent candidate who is also a former member of parliament Nkhosa Kamwendo agreed with the two saying that there is no need to continue with the program as it has proved to be evil and has managed to cause divisions between the chiefs and their subjects since only few benefit from it.
However, the candidate for Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Violet Ngalande Skeva was of different view as she indicated that the program is so helpful and needs to be maintained.
“The program should not be abolished, if you put me in power I will make sure that there is fair distribution because the major problem is corruption in the distribution which result into benefiting a few than intended recipient,” said Skeva.
NICE office in Ntchisi has conducted 8 debates for aspiring ward councillors and 4 for those vying for the parliamentary seat in all the wards and constituencies.