Affordable Input Programme (AIP) beneficiaries in the country have vowed not to sell their inputs to vendors but use them to eradicate hunger at household level.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) recently, AIP beneficiaries in Salima, Nkhotakota, Kasungu and Ntchisi spoke against the tendency and advised fellow beneficiaries to refrain from the malpractice.
Meston Mawunda, a first-time beneficiary from Group Village Head (GVH) Nkhwali, Traditional Authority (TA) Khombedza in Salima district said she is ready to apply fertilizer in her maize field this farming season and is looking forward to a food secured household after a bumper harvest.
“We really have people who upon getting informed that they will benefit from the AIP, they immediately get money from vendors promising to give them fertilizer once the programme starts, this has made households face hunger. I have advised others before not to venture into this after noting its consequences and I continue to advise every beneficiary in Malawi not to venture into this,” she said.
Another beneficiary, Jali Malola of Mtondo village, TA Khombedza, Salima disclosed that their village headman in collaboration with the Village Development Committee (VDC) would embark on a monitoring exercise this farming season to ensure every AIP beneficiary uses the inputs for the intended purpose.
“They formulated bylaws which call for punishment to anyone who will misuse the inputs,” added Jali, while calling upon other villages in the country to emulate.
Diana Mbale, of Bango Village, TA Mwadzama, Nkhotakota said the current maize price should move the beneficiaries to use AIP fertilizer and seed to produce enough for their households to avoid struggling next year, saying if they ignore the advice, they would face hunger.
A Kasungu based beneficiary, Loveness Phiri from Vijumo village under TA Mwase advised fellow beneficiaries to endure all challenges that may push them to sell their inputs, saying the endurance, proper utilisation of the inputs will see their households experiencing bumper yields come harvesting season.
Monica Mwale, from Mbizo village, TA Chikho, in Ntchisi district said households who sell the inputs deny themselves right to have sufficient food which government grants them through AIP.
AIP Desk Officer for Salima Agriculture Development Division (ADD) which covers Salima and Nkhotakota districts Lonzo Chirwa acknowledged that there are farmers who sell inputs to vendors, although the programme wants beneficiaries to utilise the inputs for food production in their households.
“If households are food secure, then the country will also be food secure, and as a result government will no longer channel its resources towards relief maize purchase but will use them in other important sectors of development for the country’s progress,” he said.
Chirwa said as Salima ADD, they will intensify monitoring to ensure farmers use AIP fertilizer for its intended purpose, the same will be done by Kasungu ADD whose districts it covers, include Kasungu and Ntchisi.
Reported by James Kanyenda