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Chakwera Tonse Govt dared to reduce AIP funding

By Thandie Chadzandiyani

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Action Aid Malawi alongside National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 asked President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse government to reduce money allocated to Affordable Input Program (AIP), saying the program is taking much of the agriculture budget.

The two organizations made the appeal when they met the agriculture and natural resources cluster committee at Parliament Building.

Speaking after the meeting, Head of programs and policy at Action Aid Malawi, Clement Ndiwo Banda, said are not satisfied with how Government has made some allocations in the agriculture sector and also the money which has been allocated to AIP out of the MK448 billion agriculture budget.

“From our analysis of the budget, the overall budget allocation towards agriculture and natural resources is the second largest share with around 15%. However, there are some allocations which are too much and in some cases too little has been provided.”

“Although AIP has been reduced from MK140 Billion last financial year to MK109 billion in this budget, we are not satisfied because that is supposed to come with a clear strategy for the graduation of farmers from the program which at the moment is still not very clear.

“It is very important that we should also be seeing growth in other sectors in terms of allocation so that we can achieve our aspiration for commercialization of agriculture production that will facilitate access to markets for our farmers,” said Banda.

He then urged government to consider creating opportunities or infrastructure that would facilitate value addition and to increase access to local markets as well as international markets, so that Malawi can generate more forex and income for the farmers.

Co-Chairperson of Agriculture and Natural resources cluster Ulemu Chilapondwa said his committee will bring the two organisations’ proposals to parent ministry of agriculture for action.

“They indicated that we should encourage the Ministry of Agriculture to include or diversify and allocate more to other sections of agriculture, so that at the end of the day the agriculture sector should be improving on fisheries, improving on livestock and other things. Our farmers should not only rely on growing of maize.

“We will take these issues to Ministry of agriculture so that they should maybe increase the budget allocation to some of these sectors which are equally very important. AIP is very important but at the same time it should not actually overshadow other sectors.

“Other sectors should also be given priority so that at the end of the day our farmers should improve their livelihood,” said Chilapondwa.

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