… but we will deliver, says Kawale
Despite cash shortages affecting delays in release of fertiliser being blended by a local company, Agriculture Minister says he is optimistic every one on the register will be able to get the essential input.
The Investigator Magazine looking into the programme revealed non availability of first dressing fertliser NPK in almost all Southern Region depots and in many places including Chiradzulu, Ntcheu, Mzimba and Rumphi most people are spending more in transport and time as the commodity is not readily available.
An official from SFFFRM Southern Region depot told fertiliser hunters on Friday before Christmas weekend they did not have NPK.
“We only have Urea which we have been told not to sale as it will go to Lilongwe,” said an official.
Our team was able to take photos of an almost empty warehouse and we were informed later that Optichem, one of the local companies hired to blend the fertiliser from Morrocco had stopped as it had not been paid.
Sam Kawale who took over the job after the K750 million scandal has been working to bring sanity to the system and he has told iDigital that special measures are being upbeat that he can turn the tide.
He said in the week in the run up to Christmas the Ministry had procured 174 extra mobile phones and recruited 256 extra clerks who have been trained and dispatched across the country, to beef up current staff.
“Each constituency has four or five Mobile vending sites to expedite distribution of fertilizer and we have added extra 300 trucks into the system to speed up delivery,” Kawale told the iDigital.
He said 12 companies are distributing seed to farmers across the country and despite the challenges the system network has been working well save for the weekend of 16th December.
“here are two companies blending and packaging fertilizer, Malawi Fertilizer and Optichem. Optichem were paid the first lot but suspended blending due to delay in payment the balance. that has been talked about and will resume. however, they are only blending 1,000 MT of MAP from Morroco,” said the Minister.
Most parts in the Southern and Central Region have already planted and farmers are already applying the dressing with second one normally done second week of January.
Fertiliser is mainly used in maize production and delays could affect the national output as the small scale farmers are the largest producers.