The Tonse Alliance government has shown its commitment to support farmers in Malawi through the Affordable Input Programme (AIP) that farmers are the backbone of the country’s agriculture sector and national food security.
Affordable Input Programme (AIP) has made farmers access to affordable agricultural inputs and this in turn increased Malawi’s food production by 21 percent in the first year of the farming season hence continuation of the programme for the betterment of the poor farmer in the villages, and Malawi at large.
In the statement signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Lobin Lowe MP said the cost of fertilizer is estimated at MK27,000 per bag of 50 Kilogram whereby Government contribution will be MK19,500 which is equivalent to the price of a bag of maize when sold at Government minimum price of MK150 per Kilogram.
While farmers are receiving the news that AIP has been increased from MK4,495 to K7,500 per 50 Kilogram bag of fertilizer, media reports are indicating that fertilizer suppliers have rejected the price of fertilizer set by Government of MK27,000 per 50 Kilogram bag of fertilizer, this is speaking for itself that consultations were not made with the suppliers, Government did it by itself.
The fertilizer suppliers are attributing the rejection of MK27,000 price per 50 Kilogram of bag of fertilizer to rising prices of fertilizer globally and logistical costs a development which is doubtful that fertilizer can be adjusted from MK40,000 to MK27,000 as per Government price and raising fears to food insecurity next year.
In the 2020-21 farming season, fertilizer prices was in the range between MK19,000-K20,000 per bag of 50 Kilogram fertilizer but, come 2021-22 season, the same price of fertilizer had risen to MK40,000, the price beyond the reach of the poor in Malawi reminding Malawians of Dr. Bakili Muluzi’s borrowed words that ‘’ Boma lilibe sitolo’’ Government has no control over commodity prices.
Media reports have also indicated that cooking oil prices will go up in November, 2021 due to shortage of soya beans in the country, huge tonnes of soya beans were exported to India leading to scarcity of soya for local oil production forcing most cooking oil companies to start importing the raw material from neighboring Zambia and other countries and even groundnuts is being exported in large quantities as seen by trucks loading it at Mgona Township in Lilongwe.