By Iommie Chiwalo
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has stepped in on the controversies surrounding Affordable Input Programme (AIP) by demanding a comprehensive report from President Lazarus Chakwera.
According to CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, the demand is in line with Section 12 (c) of the country’s Constitution.
“President Chakwera to prove us wrong by giving the AIP status report within the next 48 hours, detailing how funds Parliament set aside for the 2022/23 AIP have been spent so far,” narrates Namiwa.
He further demands that Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale must step down for creating a lie about AIP transportation crisis, forgetting that AIP funds Parliament allocated included transportation.
“We wish to emphasise that failure to act as demanded above will be understood as a further
deliberate war against the poor; and that will leave us with no option but to mobilize farming communities to hold vigils at the offices of all district commissioners, starting from January 9, 2023, as one way of defending themselves from the impending war waged by President Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration,” says Namiwa.
The CDEDI Chief has also expressed concern over what he has described as amateur public relations stunt saying that the purported transportation challenges were an example of such level of lack of seriousness on part of leadership.
“In a serious issue like AIP knowing that Malawi is an agro based economy is uncalled for to employ amateur public relations (PR) stunt to hoodwink Malawians into believing that there are stockpiles of ready fertilizer somewhere in the country. Yet the fertilizer AIP beneficiaries are redeeming is coming straight from the blending plant at Liwonde, and it is being loaded hot onto waiting trucks,” he reveals.
He has further revealed that in all its undertakings, government is just seeking cheap political mileage.
For instance Namiwa points out that the call by government for vehicles from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) was a ploy for someone to be seen caring and doing something about the AIP situation; with the hope of earning cheap political mileage from the unsuspecting public.
“By the way, who can sympathize with government on this outright case of poor planning? After all, when the Budget was being passed in April, contracts had already been awarded to transporters. We wonder what has become of those contracts? But we will not be surprised to hear that some transporters are claiming damages for breach of contract,” he said.
It has happened before that in breach of contracts taxpayers have been paying for government’s inefficiency.
Meanwhile, Malawians will have to wait a little longer for the fertilizer said to have been in some docking vessel at the port.
Following numerous complaints on how current government is implementing the 2022/23 AIP, CDEDI went undercover and established that the only available fertilizer is from development partners.
A report from the undercover shows that since the launch of AIP to-date, all the fertilizer that has been available and redeemed is from some development partners under the banner of African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
According to the report, this includes the 10,000 metric tonnes of MAP fertilizer (Phosphate component) the Kingdom of Morocco donated, and it was blended to 52 000 metric tonnes of NPK.
“As we report, none of the 2.5 million 2022/23 AIP beneficiaries has redeemed any fertilizer bought using the K188 billion approved by Parliament. Yet, much of the maize crop in the fields
has gone past time for receiving NPK, and we only have 14 days before the recommended time to apply Urea elapses,” reads the statement.
It also discloses that for a fact, the Chakwera-led government is yet to buy a bag of fertilizer using the funds approved by Parliament.
The current arrangement and another hope for Malawians is that AFAP is set to provide fertilizer to 1, 040,000 beneficiaries.
“AFAP is working towards giving one 50-kilogramme bag of NPK each to 1,040,000 beneficiaries
from the 2022/23 AIP earmarked 2.5 million beneficiaries.
To the rescue of Malawi government it has been established that AFAP is also footing the cost of blending the donated fertilizer, which is taking place in Liwonde, Machinga, including the
The donated fertilizer from Russia is neither NPK nor Urea, and an arrangement has been made with some African country to exchange it with fertilizer that is compatible with Malawi soils.