BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance administration on Thursday, September 16, 2021 announced a rise of price for Affordable Input Programme (AIP) fertilizer from MK4500 to MK7500, representing a 67 percent increase.
This has been disclosed during a press briefing held in Lilongwe by Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe alongside Minister of Information Gospel Kazako and Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo.
Addressing journalists in Lilongwe, Lowe announced that the number of beneficiaries has been maintained at 3.7 million, but 44, 000 beneficiaries have been removed from the list as it has been established that they are civil servants.
According to Lowe, Input packages have also been maintained at 1 bag of Urea, NPK and 1 seed pack.
He added that a bag of fertilizer is now being sold at MK27, 000 per bag and government contribution will be MK19, 500, therefore a farmer will make a contribution of MK7,500.
For Seeds, Lowe says government contribution will be MK3365 contribution and the farmers contribution will be determined based on the market price.
“The list of AIP suppliers’ successful bidders will be released next week,” he said while warning suppliers selling fertilizer above MK27, 000 not to sign the contract.
Lowe has also assured farmers whose National IDs are expiring or have expired not to worry saying they will be allowed to use their expired ID or use the receipt from NRB.
On livestock, Lowe says government will provide two goats to selected households in Chikwawa.
On his part, information minister Gospel Kazako defended the decision of the government to raise price of AIP fertilizer, saying Malawians were consulted and they gave a nod to the proposal.
“We consulted all stakeholders before effecting this new price, and some even suggested that it should be K10 000. But the administration of President Lazarus Chakwera is very considerate and has put it at MK7500,” said Kazako.
The decision to raise AIP price comes few days after ActionAid Malawi (AAM) proposed to Tonse Alliance government to consider increasing the redemption contribution by farmers reasonably or trim the number of beneficiaries of the flagship program.
The international organisation suggested that it could be ideal if Capital Hill raised the redemption contribution to MK10,000 from the current MK4,495.
AAM made the proposal as part of its campaign under the four-year Partnership for Social Accountability (PAS) project which is helping the country to improve in social accountability areas.
The project, which is being jointly implemented with other implementing partners, started in June 2019 and will wind up in July 2023.
In a written response, AAM social accountability project manager Wales Chigwenembe noted that any near-term response will require making difficult choices about how to distribute the burden of rising prices on the global market by either reducing the number of beneficiaries, reducing the value of the subsidy, or increasing the burden on the Treasury.
Chigwenembe said at this juncture, it is not easy to review the budget because of time-frame and currently the government does not have development funds due to collapse of the domestic economy which he said has been affected by Covid-19.
In the maiden 2020/21 budget for Tonse Alliance, government allocated MK160 billion to AIP but the budget was later revised to MK142 billion at mid-year.
In the 2021/22 budget, government has maintained the MK142 billion budget to cater for 3.7 million targeted beneficiaries.