BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As Malawians are complaining about the skyrocketing of prices of fertilizer the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation has directed the Fertilizer Association of Malawi to reduce prices of fertilizer.
The committee has threatened that it will direct government to consider finding other suppliers of fertilizer if their directive is not honoured by the association.
The association appeared before the committee today Tuesday, where it’s Executive Administration Officer Mbawaka Phiri Could not commit to abiding to the directive of the committee.
A bag of fertilizer is being sold at almost K40 thousand kwacha.
In a related development, President Lazarus Chakwera is set to meet fertiliser manufacturers and other stakeholders following a sharp rise in fertiliser prices, the State House Press Office has said.
Speaking during the fortnightly State House Media Briefing yesterday in Lilongwe, State House director of communications Sean Kampondeni said the President is concerned about the development which he described as a blow to farmers in the country.
He said: “The President is genuinely concerned about rising prices of fertiliser granted that the problem is partly attributed to global factors in the economy because fertiliser production globally dropped and there is low supply which is increasing demand, leading to price rises.
“The President is keen to work in partnership with those who supply fertilisers here in Malawi to find win-win solutions because ultimately the ones who are going to use fertilisers are farmers and the prices may be seen by farmers to be draconian but the President is working on resolving the issue.”
Fertiliser prices have sharply increased to between K35 000 and K40 000 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag, up from last season’s pricing of K22 000 to K25 000 per 50 kg bag.
In a written response yesterday, Fertiliser Association of Malawi chief executive officer Mbawaka Phiri attributed the spike in fertiliser prices to international prices that have gone up.
She said the developments on the international market, is a result of increased cost of raw materials, manufacturing and logistical bottlenecks due to Covid-19, oil and gas price increases and increased product demand.
During its first year in office, Chakwera’s nine political-party Tonse Alliance launched an ambitious Affordable Inputs Programme which enabled 3.5 million smallholder farming households access to low cost fertiliser at K4 995 per 50 kg bag in fulfilment of the campaign promise. However, the gesture was a far cry from the initial generalised campaign promise of universal subsidy.