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AIP Not Answer to Malawi's Food Insecurity - Expert

An agriculture expert says Malawi cannot achieve food security with this year's Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) amid an outcry that in some villages the beneficiary's list has been trimmed three times.

The government has reduced the AIP beneficiaries from 2.5 million households last year to 1.5 million in this year's K109.8 billion programme.

Now the 1 million difference is reflecting in the individual villages in the country where in some, the beneficiary's lists are three times less than that of last year.

For instance in Thyolo, village headman Ndalama under Senior Chief Nchiramwera fears that his subjects would face hunger next year since only 26 households are the ones benefitting in the programme this year against 333 of last year.

"In the previous year, they targeted 777 households, last year 333 and now we have 26 names. You can see that people are not happy in the village and this is hunger in the making," he worried.

Similarly, village headman Magombo of the same area, wonders that the 84 AIP beneficiary list in his jurisdiction has included three civil servants and some cash transfer beneficiaries.

"I can confirm that we have names of civil servants and cash transfer beneficiaries appearing on the list in my village. We are expecting extreme hunger challenge next year," he said.

Meanwhile, an agriculture expert, Leonard Chimwaza, said it's high time the country acknowledged that AIP cannot be an answer to food insecurity by embracing irrigation farming, empowering medium to large scale farmers to produce more.

"We cannot achieve food security as the country with the subsistence thinking that we have; smallholder farmers cannot be part of the solution to the food insecurity we have. But also considering that Malawi has enough land, we can improve productivity by way of practicing irrigation farming," Chimwaza highlighted.

The government had indicated that the remaining 1 million AIP beneficiaries will be targeted under the Social Cash Transfer, Climate Smart Public Works Program, Agriculture Commercialization (AGCOM 1 and 2) Project and mega farms including the development partners.

This year's farmer contribution is K15,000 per bag of fertilizer, K15,000 per one female goat, and the government is contributing K3,500 per 5kg pack.

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