The improvements are also meant to increase agricultural productivity and enhance food security.
Speaking in Mchinji at the launch of the farm input subsidy program for 2017/2018 season, Minister of Agriculture Joseph Mwanamveka said 900,000 farming families will benefit from this year’s program.
The continuation of the FISP demonstrates the commitment that government has towards making the country food secured as outlined in the DPP manifesto on the road to the 2014 polls.
“Beneficiaries will get a coupon to access 2 bags of fertilizer and certified seed through selected agro-dealers across the country. Unlike previous years, coupons are already in the country in readiness for distribution,” indicates Mwanamvekha.
The minister said the improvement is meant to benefit the poor. He further says government will not spare agro-dealers who will be involved in any malpractices. Among some of the measures to be taken include deregistration and naming to shame them.
“There will be penalties for all agro-dealers involved in malpractices, and the Fair Trading Act Commission and Malawi Bureau of Standards are there to help to bring to book all agro-dealers who will flout the contractual agreements,” said the minister.
The program this year has also involved the parliamentary committee on agriculture that is overseeing the whole process right from the onset. Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Agriculture Chidante Malunga commended government for taking suggestions from the committee.
“This is like a football game everyone needs to be involved because the program is for the nation. We are happy that the committee made some recommendations in the processes and the ministry incorporated them,” said Hon. Chidante.
Soon after the launch farmers started receiving the coupons and went straight to buy the inputs at Mchinji Boma from selected agro-dealers.