Programme Manager for Lilongwe Agricultural Development Division (ADD) George Kapelemera has cautioned agro dealers and suppliers of 2017/18 Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) against engaging themselves into malpractices that end up frustrating a farmer.
Speaking in Ntcheu on Wednesday when his office briefed extension workers and suppliers of FISP in security features of coupons, he said his office has reports that the suppliers indulge themselves into malpractices which do not go well with farmers.
“We have reports that some suppliers siphon fertilizer from the bags which makes it to weigh less than 50 kg. That is robbery because farmers are supposes to be sold the required amount of fertiliser not the siphoned one,” the Programme Manager said.
Kapelemera said his office would not stay idle and watch the malpractice happening.
“We would ensure that those doing this are arrested and brought before the law. Government is spending huge amounts of money for the welfare of farmers and one thinks he can go away with it and start doing something contrary.
I would like to warn you that we would be inspecting your shops and weigh the bags of fertilizer. If you are found to be selling underweight fertilizer, we would deal with you right away,” he cautioned.
The Programme Manager warned the suppliers that it is against the law for one to buy coupons from farmers.
“We have reports that some of the suppliers and agro dealers buy coupons from farmers. This programme is meant to benefit the farmer and not you. You would be dealt with if we find you doing that,” he said.
Kapelemera urged them to ensure that they display prices of the inputs outside their shops so that farmers see the prices before entering the shop.
“The prices would differ according to shops and this is why we are asking you to display the prices outside your shops so that farmers have a choice of where to buy the inputs from,” he said.
District Commissioner (DC) for Ntcheu, Smart Gwedemula asked the Programme Manager to ensure that the certified agro dealers and suppliers of FISP open outlets in the areas they are supposed to supply.
“Last time we had a meeting, chiefs and parliamentarians complained against the malpractice of some suppliers that did not open outlets in hard to reach areas and concentrated in urban areas yet in their agreement they said they would open shops in those areas. This was a bad experience because in the end it was the farmer that lost,” he recalled.
The DC said the agriculture office should ensure that the suppliers do what they signed in their contracts.
A total of 38,100 farmers are expected to benefit from the 2017/18 FISP in Ntcheu.
FISP is a government programme was introduced in 2005/06 farming season with a purpose of increasing resource for poor small holder farmers to access improved agricultural farm inputs, fertiliser and improves seeds