Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said 58 people have been arrested on allegations of fraud in 2017/18 Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP).
Mwanamveka disclosed this in Parliament on Tuesday Member of Parliament (MP) for Machinga East, Esther Jolobala asked government why there are more FISP coupons than allocated tonnage of inputs in most districts.
Jolobala also asked Minister of Agriculture to explain why suppliers are buying the coupons from farmers
In his response, Mwanamvekha said law enforcers have moved in to arrest about 58 people who were either using fake or recycled coupons.
“We have security personnel in all our selling points,” he said, warning anyone that will be bringing fake and recycled coupons that they will be “caught and dealt with.”
Mwanamvekha said the arrested people will face over 20 charges.
Mwanamveka then warned the suppliers against buying coupons from the farmers, saying companies involved in the malpractice will be banned from supplying inputs for the programme
However, he said the program has been a success and that all beneficiaries would access the inputs by December 15, which is the last selling date.
In the 2017/18 Fisp program, government is subsidizing NPK and Urea fertilisers per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag for K15 000 and 5kg maize seed for K6000, 2kg sorghum for K6 000 and 2 kg legume seed for K2 050.
The program has been marred by some unscrupulous traders selling substandard inputs to farmers and other circulating fake coupons.