Govt justifies people paying for donated fertilizer under AIP

Beneficiaries of the Affordable Inputs Programme

In this year’s Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP), beneficiaries will pay K15,000 to purchase even the fertilizers which government received as donations from some of its development partners.

Presenting a statement in Parliament, Responsible Minister Sam Kawale disclosed that the Moroccan government has given Malawi 10,000 metric tons of Muriate of Potash (MOP).

However since Malawi does not use this type of fertilizer for maize production, it will be blended by the Malawi Fertilizer Company Ltd and OPTICHEM (2000) Ltd to make 51,500 metric tons of basal dressing fertilizer NPK:23:10:5+6S+1.0Zn).

Through the Moroccan fertilizer, government is upbeat of reaching out to 1.03 million beneficiaries.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has donated 20,000 metric tons of NPK (27:6:6:2) for cereal crops production and will be used to reach out to 400,000 farmers.

Through a loan from the African Development Bank, the Ministry will procure 20,144 metric tons (MT) of fertilizer (10,072 MT of NPK, 10,072 MT of Urea) which will be used to reach out to 201,440 beneficiaries.

Chakwera captured in an AIP warehouse in this file photo

We received 20,000 tones from WFP. The fertilizer is shipped up to Beira. From Beira, we need to transport it to Malawi and then to selling points. We did not get money for transportation from Beira to Malawi and then to the selling point. We are using part of AIP budget to fund this transportation.

We received 10,000 tones from Morocco. This fertilizer is called MAP, a raw material to be used to make the fertilizer. It needs to be blended to make 52,000 tones, meaning we are buying 42,000 tones of additional raw material to be used to blend with the 10,000 tones from Morocco. We are using about K40bn AIP budget to buy the raw material to blend.10,000 bags are blended and packed every day by the two blending companies. 

After blending, we have to transport the fertilizer from blenders in Blantyre and Liwonde to selling point across the country. This also requires money from AIP budget,” explained the Minister.

Smallholder farmers’ fertilizer revolving fund (SFFRFM is procuring the remaining NPK and Urea to ensure that all 2.5 million beneficiaries targeted this year are supported with the product.

Kawale indicated that during the 2022-2023 budget, the National Assembly approved K109 billion for the programme to cover for seeds, goats logistics and fertilizer, taking K97.5 billion of the budget. 

 “One would wonder, Madam Speaker, that why are we asking farmers to contribute to fertilizer that has been donated. Let me inform the August House that the donation has to be blended and also transported from ports to Malawi. So beneficiaries will be contributing to the cost of these two main activities”.

In charge of the Ministry of Agriculture: Kawale

He reminded members that immediately after passing the budget, fertilizer prices increased which ideally meant the number of beneficiaries would have to be dropped from the program. 

A few months later, the Kwacha was devalued by 25 percent meaning even more people had to be dropped from AIP.

Development partners such as Morocco, WFP and World Bank came to Malawi’s rescue with fertilizers which Kawale said allowed the number of beneficiaries to be maintained.

He clarified that what government is doing by asking for a K15, 000 contribution is not selling, but contribution towards accessing the fertilizer.

The Minister was upbeat with these interventions and more to come; government will be able to deliver the product to 2.5 million beneficiaries.

President Lazarus Chakwera launched the AIP programme in Dedza on 19th November.