CDEDI calls on Chakwera to reduce price of AIP fertilizer

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The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says President Lazarus Chakwera should allow Malawians to buy fertilizer at K7,500 instead of K15,000.

The call comes amid inconsistency from authorities when explaining about matters to do with fertiliser donation with government saying it will spend a whopping K40 billion on blending and transporting 52,000 tonnes of donated fertilizer. Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale also claimed that government is contributing K50,000 per bag of fertilizer.

Speaking during a press briefing, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said his organisation rose to the occasion after it became evident that President Chakwera has departed from his campaign promise of selling a 50 Kilogramme bag of fertiliser at no more than K4,500.

“In fact, we have a video clip where an old woman, identifying her-self as Virginia Kalifale, is vowing to vote for Chakwera on the strength of this promise for cheap fertiliser. To those that could not afford the
K4,500, Dr. Chakwera, actually promised free fertiliser. Now, what evidence is there that such people’s economic fortunes have improved that they can now afford to contribute K15,000 towards the Affordable Input Programme (AIP)
fertiliser? Today, Virginia Kalifale represents millions of Malawians who voted for Chakwera hoping to buy fertiliser at K4,500,” said Namiwa.

He added that such people have had a shock of their lives at hearing from the AIP taskforce that this year they are expected to contribute K15,000 for their subsidised fertiliser bearing in mind that these are commodities which poor Malawians who are majority depend on for survival.

He said the conduct of Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration is nothing but a total betrayal given the current economic challenges facing Malawi clearly mirrored through the sky-rocketing cost of living that has made life for an average Malawian family practically difficult.

Namiwa has therefore challenged all farming communities to refuse the global economic downturn and the Ukraine war stories, which he said are being used by the current administration to cover up its incompetence and cluelessness because elsewhere, leaders that have the welfare of their people at heart have worked out mechanisms to bail out citizens.

“But, here, is all about excuses. If the leaders are giving excuses on problems their people are facing, who, then, will give citizens solutions? As we stand, it is clear that Malawians are paying the price of voting into office leaders who were not up to the mark,” he said.

He added that from the look of things, in the coffers that President Chakwera controls there is money for anything else save for fertilizer and food for the poorest of the poor.

“Evidence is there that every month the President has money to travel somewhere with a bloated entourage at the expense of poor Malawians, most of whom do not know where their next meal is going to come from. To prove that President Chakwera does not care about the likes of Virginia Kalifale—that only need affordable fertiliser not handouts—his cronies are ready to pounce on the donated fertiliser by selling it at K15,000 per bag,” he said.

“Simply put, this decision has been arrived at because Malawians have accepted to be taken for granted by politician. As citizens, we seem to enjoy suffering in silence. Had we protested the 2021/2022 price of K7,500 this year, matters would not have come to this point. Should we accept this price, next year the same AIP fertiliser will be at K50,000 per bag!,” said the CDEDI Executive Director.

Namiwa has since challenged President Chakwera to reverse the decision by his administration to sell the donated fertilizer and to also revise the price of AIP fertiliser to K7,500 before the launch of the programme slated for Saturday, November 19, 2022 in Dedza district.

“The President should also come out clearly on the actual amount of fertilizer available in the country outside the AIP, since it appears we, as a nation, have forgotten that we also have commercial farmers,” he said.

Speaking on maize availability situation, Namiwa called for an explanation to the nation about the status of the maize situation in the country in the wake of the sky-rocketing prices of the staple grain and when the people should expect the opening of the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) selling points that have been tried and tested as well as proven to be the right channels for accessing both fertilizer and food across the country.

“Let the President and his government be reminded that a hungry person is an angry person, therefore, any carelessness in handling the maize crisis in the country is a recipe for disaster,” he said.

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