19 November 2017
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Friday, 08 September 2017 14:12

FISP targets 27,800 farmers in Balaka

Written by  Louis Kumchima

Balaka, September 08, 2017:  Approximately 27,800 small holder farmers from Balaka are expected to benefit from this year's Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP), the Malawi News Agency (MANA) has learnt. 

Briefing Balaka District Council members on Wednesday, Desk Officer for Balaka FISP Tamandani Teya said the number of the beneficiaries for this year is the same as that of last year.

“This year’s programme will come earlier than last year’s because we are expecting coupons by September 18, 2017. This has been done to give enough room to famers to fully utilize the farm inputs as rains come early in the southern region as compared to the central and northern regions,” Teya said.

She added that apart from targeting small holder farmers farming at a small scale, this year’s FISP will also give room to small holder farmers who do their farming at a large scale.

"The programme usually targets small scale farmers, elderly and resource poor farmers, HIV positive farmers and physically challenged farmers among others.

“But the 2017-2018 FISP will also target productive small holder farmers in the districts of Salima, Dowa, Rumphi and Mwanza," she said.

Furthermore, the Desk Officer revealed that the selection of beneficiaries in the programme will be done at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters.

Commenting on the development during the meeting, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nsamala commended government for proceeding with the FISP despite dissenting views from different sectors to stop the programme.

"I am glad with the efforts by government to speed up the process so that we receive the coupons in time. This will really help our people to use the coupons because most of the times they come when the rains have already started," he said.

However, the chief expressed his concern over the fact that identification of beneficiaries will be done at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters saying this may see unwanted beneficiaries incorporated in the programme.

Government introduced the Farm Input Subsidy Programme in 2005 to boost food security in the country.

Through the program, beneficiaries procure fertilizer including maize and legume seeds at subsidized prices with a 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer being bought at K 15,000.

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