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Subsidy Worries of Lilongwe Chiefs

LILONGWE: Local leaders in Lilongwe say 2011/2012 farm input subsidy programme is a flop as it has been marred with decrease in the number of beneficiaries and lack of markets to buy fertilizers.

Senior Group Village Headman Chiliza in Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe told Zodiak Online that his subjects are keeping coupons for buying subsized farm inputs and there are no where to buy fertilizers in the area.

However, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Erica Maganga says government is aware of some areas that need supply of farm inputs and will be delivered soon.

Senior Group Village Headman Chiliza in the area of Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe says out of 190 households in his village, only 33 benefited from this year’s farm input subsidy programme.

Senior Group Village Headman Chiliza also complained the few that benefited from the programme are yet to buy fertilizers since there are no commodities at Chitipi and Mpingu Admarc depots in Lilongwe.

“It would be better if this programme is universal. For example in my village there are 190 households who wanted to benefit from the programme but only 33 received coupons,” said Senior Group Village Headman Chiliza.

“In addition, 33 people who have benefited from this year’s programme are finding it hard to but farm inputs. As I am talking people in my village have coupons.”

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Mr. Maganga says is aware of the problem.

“With support from donor partners we have achieved a lot. Government will continue distributing farm inputs to market.

“We are remaining with 7,000 metric tonnes to be distributed especially in central and southern regions,” said Mrs.  Maganga.

Government announced the reduction of beneficiaries of the 2011/2012 subsidized farm input programme and critics in the country have warned that this year’s programme will be a flop.

For the past four years Malawi harvested enough crops following the introduction of the subsidized farm input programme.—Zodiak Online

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