Following the withdrawal of some fertilizer suppliers from the Agriculture Inputs Programme (AIP), Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe says suppliers who are currently supplying fertilizer will be given additional contracts to supply more fertilizer.
Lowe made the remarks in Parliament yesterday after presenting a statement on the progress of the programme.
The Minister was addressing concerns that 13 suppliers have pulled out of the AIP following disagreement over fertilizer price set by Government.
Lower said the Ministry is ready to provide addendum to the few suppliers who are already on the market.
“There are few suppliers on the ground and if they will still have the capacity, they will be given a tender to supply more fertilizer instead of waiting for those who are boycotting from supplying fertilizer to farmers,” said Lowe in an interview after the Parliamentary meeting.
He added that Government cannot wait until the day the suppliers offered contracts decide to sign the contracts.
He also told journalists that the suppliers that have already started have managed to supply to hard to reach areas that were not able to get the fertilizer previously such as Neno and Likoma and within the two weeks places like Chikwawa are around 40 percent of supply while Chiradzulu is around 30 percent.
On the issue of electronic system for inputs redemption, the minister explained that despite the success of the program last season, they had problems of connectivity which were popularly named as network which led to congestion in most markets but this season government has made improvement to address the problem.
AIP will in total provide 371,411 metric tonnes of fertilizer split halfway between NPK and Urea; 18,571 metric tonnes of cereal seed (maize, sorghum, rice) as well as 60,000 female goats.
Each beneficiary household is entitled to access a 50Kg bag of NPK, a 50Kg bag of Urea and 5kgs of maize seed while each farming households under livestock production will access 2 female goats.
The beneficiary households will have to pay MK7,500 for each bag of fertiliser accessed while the contribution on seed will be varying based on the seed type preference and the contribution towards each goat accessed will be MK7,5000.
Government will have to pay MK19,500.00 on each bag accessed or each goat accessed and pay K3,365 for the cereals seed pack accessed.
“This implies that government is contributing a total of MK42,365,00 per farmer on the crop production package and MK39,000.00 for livestock farmer,” said Lowe in the statement presented in Parliament.