AIP to include Livestock beneficiaries
By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
2021/22 Affordable Input Program, commonly known as AIP will include livestock beneficiaries apart from the initial bags of fertilizer and seeds, Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe has revealed.
In a press statement released on Thursday afternoon, 16th September, 2021 in Lilongwe, Lowe told the nation that in the districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa, farmers will get 2 goats instead of fertilizer and seeds as a pilot program by government at a total cost of K28,000 per goat with beneficiaries paying a subsidized cost of K7,500 while the remaining K20,500 will come from government.
On the other hand Hon. Lowe who was accompanied by his deputy(Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma), Minister of Information (Gospel Kazako) and Minister of Civic Education and National Unity(Timothy Mtambo), assured the nation that government of President Lazarus Chakwera acknowledges smallholder farmers as the backbone of the country’s agriculture sector and national food security, hence its continued commitment towards the AIP, adding that for crop farmers, they will continue to benefit two bags of NPK popularly known as 23:21and Urea respectively with a 5kg cereal pack. But unlike last growing season when beneficiaries were getting a bag at K4, 495, this season beneficiaries will be accessing a bag of fertilizer at K7,500 with government paying K19,500 as it has been estimated at a cost value of K27,000 this season. For cereals the price has been fixed at K3,365, but farmers are expected to be paying differently basing on the area market price of the same.
On the number of beneficiaries, Minister Lowe told the nation that all the 2020/21 season beneficiaries will benefit accept 44,000 households who have been discovered to be civil servants and have since been slashed off from the list.
This year government has allocated a total of K141.9875 billion towards AIP, which has K124.74 billion for fertilizer, K1.26 billion for goats and K12.25 billion for seed purchase, and is targeting a total of 3,744,105 households of whom 3,714,105 households are for crop production, while 30,000 will do livestock production.