Greedy officials profiteer from subsidised fertiliser
By Gawo Sande, Nyasa Times December 22, 2011
This scheme has been in place for six years now and corruption plays a major part each year.
Why does Ireland Support it?
Some officials and security officers involved in the distribution fertiliser under the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) have started abusing their positions by selling the commodity meant for the poor at market prices.
Already government has warned that people who are doing so will be arrested and prosecuted because it cannot condone such criminal acts.
The fertiliser is supposed to be sold at K500 each 50kg bag but the distribution and sales system has been infested by corruption ranging from bribes and selling of the fertliser between K5,000 to K11,000 per bag.
Fertiliser subsidy programmed riddled in corruption
A random insight by Nyasa Times reveals that in some instances people are being forced to give market official bribes which vary by market from K1,500 to K3,000.
“This programme was given to us with good intentions by government but we are sad that influential people in politics and other positions are making us pay more than the official price of K500 (tinamulakwira ndani kodi kuti tizizunzika chonchi?)–who did we wrong for us to be struggling like this?,” lamented one Kondwani James in Zomba.
When approached if they are aware on this issue Ministry of Agriculture Principal Secretary Erica Maganga said they will institute proper investigations.
“We have received these complains and we will definitely institute investigations to get to the bottome of this,” said Maganga.
But Lands and Housing Minister Yunus Mussa, who is also DPP vice president did not mince words but said anyone abusing the system will be charged.
“This government will not entertain distractors of development whoever it is found abusing government resources will be arrested and locked away,” said Mussa.
Meanwhile, president of minority opposition People’s Transformation Party (Petra), Kamuzu Chibabo says Malawians have “many unused coupons across the country due to non availability of farm inputs in Admarc markets.”
“Government is obligated to make available to ordinary Malawians across the country enough fertilizer at the subsidized rate of MK 500.00 and not otherwise,” said Chibambo in a statement to Nyasa Times.
“ The people of Malawi in some places have raised complaints that they are buying fertilizer at MK 3,000.00 which is simply fraudulent and exploitative. This malpractice must stop now,” he said.
Chibambo: Stop the malpractice
Chibambo also urged government to “increase maize stocks in all ADMARC markets to eradicate long queues which have become the order of the day.”
The Malawi government is a running a multi-billion kwacha Farm Input Subsidy Programme that has received a boost from Ireland, the UK and Norway.
President Bingu wa Mutharika introduced Subsidy Programme in 2005 to improve national food security and lift the productivity of smallholder farmers after several years of drought brought poor harvests.
The scheme widely seen as successful in achieving both goals, but expensive had 1.6 million beneficiaries in the 2010/11 farming season.