BLANTYRE-Malawians have now all the reasons to smile and ignore the ‘beer hall talk’ on fertilizer price as Tonse Alliance, under the leadership of President Lazarus Chakwera, has finally struck a deal with companies that produce fertilizer to sell the commodity at K27 000.
This is in sharp contrast to what critics of the Chakwera led administration have been preaching to the public as people were told to that a bag of fertilizer will be fetching as high as K40 000.
Addressing journalists on Saturday morning on Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), the Minister of Agriculture Robin Lowe parried away all rumours surrounding the AIP while highlighting some minor changes.
On AIP beneficiaries’ contribution, the minister said the poor farmers will be required to pay K7500 as government will contribute K19 500.
“Distinguished Members of the Press, Ladies and Gentlemen, the cost of fertilizer is estimated at MK27,000 per bag whereby Government contribution will be MK19,500 whilst farmer contribution will be MK7,500 which is equivalent to the price of a bag of maize when sold at Government minimum price of MK150 per kg, unlike last year when it was MK4,495. 4,” said Lowe.
This year Government contribution on seed will be fixed at MK3,365 per 5kg seed pack, according to Lowe.
He said: “Farmer contribution will be varying depending on the prevailing market prices of each cereal variety. The opening up of the farmer contribution on seed will give an opportunity to farmers to buy seed of their choice.”
The minister said Livestock beneficiaries in pilot districts will be expected to pay MK7,500 per she goat and Government contribution will be MK20,500.
Lowe also warned suppliers that would want to increase fertilizer prices unnecessarily that Government will not revise the agreed prices.
While Malawians were made to believe that the number of beneficiaries has been slashed, Lowe emphasized that Government has maintained the number of farming households who benefited in 2020-21 season who were 3,788,105.
But he was quick to point out that 44,000 civil servants have been removed from the database, remaining with a total of 3,744,105 farming households who will be covered in this 2021-22 season.
Out of 3,744,105; a total of 3,714,105 farming households will do crop production while 30,000 farming households in Chikwawa and Nsanje will do livestock production (goats).
This farming season, the Government has allocated MK141.9875 billion for AIP; of which MK124.74 billion is earmarked for fertilizer purchases, MK1.26 billion for purchases of goats and MK12.25 billion for seed purchases.