CISANET Expresses Concerns on AIP
The Civil Society Network on Agriculture (CisaNet) has expressed its concerned over delays by government to roll out the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) with almost a month and a half to go before the rainy season starts.
CISANET Board Chairperson Herbert Chagona says the delay “is a contradiction to the government's commitment to supporting poor farmers and ensuring food security in the country.”
Chagona says in a statement that timely availability of the input at an affordable price is essential to enable farmers to prepare adequately for the planting season.
He has also added that they are concerned with the government's intention to remove one million beneficiaries from the AIP list, saying that the abrupt removal of beneficiaries without clear criteria or explanations can have severe consequences for vulnerable households.
“The implementation of the AIP has been marred by chaos in recent years, leaving many poor farmers on the brink of hunger, especially during the lean season. It is crucial that the government reflects on and applies lessons learned from the recent past two years to avoid a recurrence of such challenges.
“Outstanding refunds to farmers who were asked to pay in advance for inputs should be addressed promptly to restore public trust and confidence in the program. Transparency and accountability in the administration of the AIP are non-negotiable. Farmers, as well as the general public, need assurance that their contributions and investments are being managed efficiently and effectively. The government must take concrete steps to investigate and rectify the issues that have plagued the program in the past,” he said.
“In light of these concerns, we make an appeal to the Malawi Government to demonstrate seriousness and commitment in the implementation of the AIP.
“It is imperative for the country to move towards self-sufficiency and food security, and the success of the AIP is pivotal in achieving this goal. It is high time government got serious for once on matters that life itself hinges on,” Chagona added.
Secretary for Agriculture, Dickxie Kampani, says in response that the AIP will roll out soon without being specific.
Kampani added that government cannot do otherwise on trimming the number of beneficiaries as it is going in line with the budget, adding that CISANET should also play its role to lobby for more funds so that more beneficiaries are reached out with the subsidized commodities.