The deputy Minister of Agriculture Hon. Agness Nkusankhoma returns back to Lilongwe on Thursday afternoon from her AIP inspection mission in the northern region where she has managed to cover districts of Mzimba, Rumphi, Karonga,Chitipa and some parts of Kasungu district.
Speaking to our reporter on a telephone interview, Nkusankhoma has admitted that the program is still facing some challenges like unavailability of suppliers which were allocated in different areas across the country, something she says is making farmers to walk long distances for them to redeem their inputs.
The deputy Minister also cited the missing of some names of beneficiariesin the system as well as network challenges in some typical areas and she has directed Agriculture official to move in swiftly in correcting problems to do with the missing names in the system.
She has also asked suppliers suppliers who are having connectivity problems which are attributed to network challenge to consider buying routers or Mi-Fis to boost up their network availability, something that she says will help in overcoming connectivity challenges.
On unavailability of suppliers, Nkusankhoma repeated what the Minister of Agriculture has has also been saying that the Ministry will ask ADMARK and Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) to go in all the areas where there are no suppliers selling these affordable Inputs currently.
“The Ministry will extend area coverage to supplies that have capacity to migrate into remote areas either to open established market or Mobile selling for an easy access of these inputs by beneficiaries.” Nkusa said
Starting from Monday this week, the two Ministers have been visiting different selling points for affordable inputs with the deputy minister visiting these markets in the Northern region and the Minister visiting the Southern region.
Since the time the program was launched, over 1.4 million farmers out of the targeted 3.7 million beneficiaries this year have already bought their two bags of fertilizer and seed representing 38% for fertilizer and 37% for seed.