The Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale, yesterday expressed confidence that his ministry will meet President Lazarus Chakwera’s target of delivering Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) Fertilizer to all distribution points nationwide within 40 days.
Kawale made these remarks during his visit to the Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi in Neno Depot, where he assessed the progress of the AIP redemption process. He noted that since President Chakwera’s launch of the AIP program on October 20, 2023, at Kavidebwere Primary School grounds in Kasungu, over 21,000 beneficiaries have already redeemed their fertilizers.
“The progress might seem small but these are great steps because we had to make sure that all challenges that were experienced in previous years are sorted,” Kawale said.
He said since they were given a target, his ministry is having management meetings every Monday where they discus delivery plans and will continue holding such meetings to review the progress made and to plan for the week ahead.
He added that they have managed to clean the data base of the most districts such as Balaka, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dowa East and west, Kasungu, Likoma Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno , Nkhata Bay Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba, Mzimba south and Karonga where beneficiaries have started redeeming their fertilisers.
“We are remaining with the following districts of Lilongwe west and East, Chikwawa and Blantyre as we are finishing cleaning the system and uploading our portal so that they can start selling fertiliser to beneficiaries,” he said.
As of October 30, the minister reported that Malawi had received over 1,800 metric tonnes of AIP fertilizer, with more shipments on the way.
The government has responded to the demand of Malawians by commencing distribution in remote areas. This year’s distribution began in locations such as Karonga, Chitipa, Ntchisi, certain parts of Dowa, Mangochi, some areas in Chikwawa, and Neno. The aim is to complete the redemption process before the rainy season begins, ensuring the distribution of all 149,000 tonnes allocated for this year.
He further assured AIP beneficiaries that more than 30,000 metric tonnes are already in the country and available on the market, with additional shipments expected.
“Now there are 378 selling points, 167 in the Southern Region, 136 Central and 75 in the North and government is adding additional depots but also wants to add 200 physical places including adding mobile markets at group village headman level,” he added.
Acting Traditional Authority Chekucheku expressed appreciation to the government for the timely commencement of fertilizer redemption by farmers. This marks a positive change compared to the previous year when the process faced delays.