Commenting on the development, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Grey Nyandule Phiri, said government has increased the number of beneficiaries from last year’s figure of nine hundred thousand to one million so that a lot of Malawians are able to access the programme.
“The Ministry will start distributing the coupons before onset of rains,” said Nyandule.
This year, farmers will have a new kind of NPK fertilizer of formula 23:10:5+6s. According to Nyandule, this kind of NPK fertilizer can help in restoring lost soil nutrients, saying the previous one NPK 23:10: 5+4s did not have potassium.
“We are only issuing licenses to those traders importing the new formulation of fertilizer,” added Nyandule.
One of the country’s previous beneficiaries to FISP, Alice Leonard said she is a living testimony to the fruits of subsidy programme.
However, Alice Leonard called fellow farmers who use to sell the coupons to vendors to stop the malpractice.
“Government uses a lot of money for us to access this coupons than money people get after selling the coupons, hence it’s not good to sell them,” stressed Alice.
Mike Chirwa, a 23 old man in Bangwe Township, who looks after his three siblings applauds government for increasing the number people to benefit from the FISP, considering that people like him are likely to receive the coupons.
“This shows government commitment towards improving the livelihoods of ordinary Malawians like me,” said Mike.
FISP programme was introduced in 2005 by the Democratic Progress Party - DPP under leadership of the late Professor Bingu wa Mutharika. The programme aims at enhancing self food sufficiency among smallholder farmers by providing them with affordable and improved agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seeds.