One of the factors that made the phased out Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) fail to achieve its objectives is the proliferation of counterfeit seeds on the Malawi market that resulted in low seed germination percentage and subsequent low harvest.
It is against this background that the Minister of Agriculture Honorable Lobin Lowe, MP, and his Deputy, Agnes Mkusa Nkhoma, MP, on Friday toured suppliers of basic improved seed companies in this country trading under the names of Seeed Co Malawi and Bayer Malawi formally Monsanto with an aim of appreciating the preparedness of these companies for this year’s Agriculture season.
Speaking on this tour, Lowe says he is very much satisfied with the consignment of seeds the two companies have which he feels will surely complement the implementation of the affordable input program (AIP).
Lowe has however ordered these seed suppliers to be very vigilant in strengthening their security measures and bankrolling needed sensitization campaigns to farmers about their security features to control an influx of counterfeit seeds on the market.
“Most times especially in the past, farmers fail to benefit from government programs in because they are duped with fake seeds and even if they apply the Fertilizer correctly to their seeds, they dont harvest as anticipated and fall into disillusionment, thereby losing hope in farming activities.” Lowe said.
Territory manager for Bayer Malawi which is well known by its Maize seed brands of DKC 8033 (Mapasa), DKC 90-89 (Fumba) DKC 80-53 (Mkangala) and DK 777 (Ngale), Thyphord Chirwa expressed his discontntment with the ministry’s failure to release the list of those companies contracted to supply maize seed in this year’s AIP citing that this puts them on an equilibrium.
Chirwa further said Bayer Malawi has already filled its warehouses across the country ready for the launch of this year’s AIP which he says will surely bring government expected results as his company, which is one of the biggest stakeholder, is almost 100% ready to assist government in its implementation of AIP through provision of improved seeds.
Lowe assured Bayer Malawi that by close of business Friday, his ministry will release the names of all companies contracted to supply seeds in the newly introduced AIP, something that brought a simile on Chirwa’s lips.
Boyd Luwe, Managing Director for Seed Co Malawi also shared the same problem of late release of the list of those companies contracted to supply seeds in this year’s AIP as his company is well prepared to supply seeds across the country, something that the Minister appreciated.
The Agriculture minister then traveled to Mitundu in Lilongwe for a dry test of how farmers will be buying inputs under AIP where basing on what he saw technically, he shared his satisfaction as the practicality of the process promises to be ideal in as far as technology bankrolled is concerned.
One of the farmers who spoke to Afriem, Timoteo Msambambeta said he is looking forward to enjoy the fruits of MCP government through this AIP and according to what he witnessed during the dry test, he says he is so optimistic that the challenges they faced during the implementation of FISP won’t be repeated under this AIP.
Malawi only rely on Agriculture as the backbone for its economy and it is expected that once the 4.2 million household farmers who are expected to benefit in this year’s AIP benefit, Malawi is expected to develop tremendously as healthy people are the ones who can move the country forward.