Agriculture Committee of Parliament has faulted the President Lazarus Chakwera led government for proceeding to launch the 2021 Affordable Input Program (AIP) before preparations for the implementation of the program had been finalised.
On Saturday, October 16, president Chakwera launched AIP at St Theresa Primary School Ground in Chiradzulu district where it was announced that almost 80% of preparations for the project had been done.
However, the Committee which had a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture officials at Parliament on Tuesday this week, says it is worrisome that the head of state went on launching the program before the preparations were concluded.
Through its chairperson, Sameer Suleman, the Committee said it is very unfortunate that though the program has been launched, the ministry of agriculture has not finalized a process of signing contracts with suppliers of the inputs.
“We fault them for actually going ahead with the launch of the program before the preparations were completed. How do you go and launch a program when you don’t even have suppliers?
“Suppliers have not signed contracts and you go and launch a program before you know where you will get the fertilizer. We feel that was rushed, the list of beneficiaries has not been concluded and yet you have rushed to launch the program,” worried Suleman.
Suleman further faulted the ministry of agriculture for lying to Malawians that the country has 150 000 Metric tons of fertilizer when there is only 75 000 tons available against the required 620, 000 metric tons.
He added that the Committee recommends that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) should investigate how the Smallholder Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFRFM) is handling the entire process of the program.
In her reaction, Principal secretary in the ministry of Agriculture Erica Maganga said Malawians should not panic saying everything is going on smoothly and added that the ministry will soon start distribution of the inputs to different locations.