Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale says the ministry has engaged 13 companies to supply 149,164 metric tonnes (MT) of fertilizer for 2023-24 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) to ensure that farmers access the inputs before the first rains.
In a statement issued on Monday on the progress of the AIP, the minister said the companies already have about 80,000MT of fertilizer in the country which is about 53 percent of the quantities needed for both NPK and UREA.
The companies awarded contracts to supply fertiliser are Optichem Limited, ETG Inputs Ltd, Farmers World, Afriventures Blantyre Limited, Mediterranean Fertilisers DMCC, Malawi Fertiliser Company, Saeed Investments, Chipala Investments, Sealand Investments Ltd, Midima Holdings Ltd, Chipiku Stores, Zathu Trading and Paramount Holdings Limited.
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Highlighting on the developemnt Kawale said, about 80,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer is already in the country, which is 53 percent of what is needed.
He added that procurement of transportation services is at an advanced stage.
On how many beneficiaries the government is targeting for this season, Ministry of Agriculture AIP coordinator Justin Kagona said the figure will be announced later.
However, calculations based on the volumes of fertilizer to be supplied by the
13 companies indicate that the 149,164 MT can cater for 1.4 million beneficiaries if each beneficiary receives two 50 kg bags.
Last month, the ministry indicated that it has a carryover of 13,000MT of fertiliser which can cater for 130,000 farmers.
In total almost 1.6 million beneficiaries are expected to benefit if the beneficiaries contribution will not be used to buy more fertiliser and if there will be no further support from development partners.
However, government also indicated that it has been engaging development partners for support.
On issues of forex and if money allocated in the budget will be adequate, Mamba said the AIP coordinator or Kampani were best placed to comment.
In a separate interview, Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Irrigation chairperson Sameer Suleman called for the need to inspect the fertilizer companies to ascertain if indeed they are stocking over 80,000MT of fertilizers.
He said the committee will check if indeed there are those quantities available.
He further called on government to be transparent on the programme, saying the
country needs to know how much government is paying for the fertilizer.
Government reduced the budget for this year’s AIP from K117 billion to K109 billion.
Of the K109 billion allocated, K102 billion is for fertilizer, K6.562 billion for seeds, K0.585 billion for goats and K0.67 billion is for logistics