BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)- The first consignment of Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) coupons for the 2017/2018 agriculture season, arrived in the country through Chileka Airport in Blantyre on Friday

The coupons are expected to be distributed immediately, catering for beneficiaries from eight Southern Region districts including Nsanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Mangochi, Phalombe, Mwanza and Blantyre.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Developmrnt Joseph Mwanamveka, said the last consignment will be dispatched from United Kingdom (UK), where the coupons are printed, possibly by Monday next week. He further said that it should be in malawi be in the next two weeks.

Mwanamveka added that the early arrival of coupons has a lot of benefits, in that the farmers will have enough time to source money for top up and will therefore redeem the inputs without panicking, a development which will lead to early planting.

The minister also touted the 2017/18 FISP, saying that it will be a reformed programme as both the private sector players involved and the farmers will benefit; he said special consideration has been made on farmer seed top up.

He therefore reminded the public that in the 2016/2017 FISP season, the first consignment of coupons arrived on November 27 2016, while the second consignment arrived on December 12, 2016.

“If you go back to the records, you will observe that this is the earliest we have received the first batch of coupons for the past three FISP seasons.

“Just to put this into perspective, in the 2014/2015 FISP season, all coupons arrived in one batch on November 14 2014, and in the 2015/16 FISP season, the first consignment arrived on November 17 2015, while the second one arrived on November 24 2015,” said Mwanamveka.

Government will spend about K36.15 billion in FISP, which is set to benefit 900,000 households.

Since the programme targets needy farmers, Governmenr has fixed coupon values for the maize seed pack at K6,000, while the legume seed pack is at K2,050. On fertiliser, Government is contributing K15,000 per 50 kg bag.

On average, the fertiliser will costs between K18,000 and K21,000 on the market and the farmers are expected to pay the difference.

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