President Lazarus Chakwera has launched the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) set to benefit four million Malawians with fertiliser and seed inputs.
AIP has replaced Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) which was taken out following the ousting of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime. FISP was marred with ghosts beneficiaries, unscrupulous vendors, corruption and huge supplier mismanagement leading to the dismantling.
Speaking at the launch in Zomba, Chakwera said history was being made as he and his Vice President Saulos Chilima (SKC) were fulfilling the promise they made during campaign for the fresh presidential election in June 2020 saying fertiliser needed to be cheap from all farmers in Malawi.
Chakwera said: “This will help because when a farmer gets the K4,500 cheap fertilizer and seed which we were saying in our manifesto is to reach everyone, even though it is not everyone of the 18 million Malawians, this has never happened in the history of Malawi.
“The aim is that every family that farms should benefit; we are not talking about big farmers who have estates but you who have small farms, when we help those four million it means it has reached everyone and it universal. Maybe some were thinking we were doing this so they vote for us but this is true to Malawi. We are here to serve Malawi, this issue of hunger ever year must stop,” he proclaimed.
Chakwera was being strong worded when he talked of development partners trying to supress the programme: "Governments in Africa have been directed not to subsidise their farmers but in their homelands they always subsidise their farmers and sell us. Why should we not help our own?" Questioned Chakwera.
He added: “This is deliberate so we rise from hunger every day, so that we can look at other big things; you cannot progress when you have an empty stomach. This is the core of our philosophy, let's share wealth.”
The President said for a long time more Malawians have been in abject poverty while others have been feeding off their taxes.
“It is our duty to reduce the poverty gap and we, as servant leaders can’t keep a blind eye.
“Every family should be reliant on their own; every household should be food sufficient; you need to eat three times a day, you should be employing others because then you can start job recruitment and not one will be in poverty."
"Government is spending K160 billion this is not a handout. It is a means of distributing resources for consumption but for production,” the Tonse Alliance leader explained.
He asked the beneficiaries to calculate how much they need in their families pointing out those who sell their produce will not graduate to the next phase.
The President also said the private sector is crucial in ensuring the programme works.
One of the beneficiary farmers, Gladys Chintalo said the initiative will help her harvest more and she was just waiting for the rains.