Chakwera Encouraged to Inspect Crops this Year

Chakwera (centre) with farmers Chakwera (centre) with farmers - file photo

Agriculture experts, Ronald Chilumpha and Horace Phiri have encouraged President Lazarus Chakwera to continue conducting crop inspections as they signify leadership focus and motivate farmers including extension workers.

Chilumpha says that the President should meet the real farmers in clubs to encourage and appreciate challenges they have faced to access inputs under this year's Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).

"It is very necessary for the President to go down to the farmer to inspect their crops which they have grown. On the part of the farmers, they are encouraged. For instance, thus year we are talking of delays the farmers have faced to access fertilizer under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP),"he encouraged.

On the other hand, given the status of the economy, agriculture expert from the Lilongwe University Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Phiri has advised the government to weigh the costs against benefits of conducting such inspections.

"If you are a farmer and the president has come to your farm, I think it’s something that will encourage you and even to do beyond. However, much as the benefits are there, the issue will be, given the status of our economy, will the resources allow us to be engaging in such activities," Phiri weighed.

In a written response on Friday, Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale says his ministry will communicate to Malawians when they are ready for President Chakwera to conduct nationwide crop inspections this year. 

Last year, President Chakwera conducted nationwide crop inspections where he visited maize and banana fields, among others to appreciate the farmers challenges.

In Thyolo for instance, President Chakwera noted that farmers were struggling to making strides because they were not in clubs.

Some critics faulted the President for the exercise arguing it drained the public pulse and targeted the thriving fields, hence not giving the true picture on the ground.

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