Malawi: Chakwera Says MCP's Universal Subsidy Pledge Tweaked to Cheap Fertiliser to Replace FISP

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera has said the party has tweaked its pledge in MCP manifesto in which the party promised to introduce a universal subsidy programme opting to adopt cheaper fertiliser of 50 kg bag of fertiliser selling at K4,495 as advocated by UTM leader Saulos Chilima.

Chakwera speaking on whistle stop

The MCP presidential hopeful was speaking Friday during whistle-stops rally at Mitundu Trading Centre, Mchenga Trading Centre, before holding a rally at Lobi Trading Centre in Dedza District.

Chakwera said the MCP government which he will form with support of electoral alliance will stop to the current Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) which benefits 1.4 million poor farmers who buy a 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser at K500, saying it was no longer effective.

"We have been in talks with companies in other countries, we are able to negotiate with them, but as we have been saying, we will also open factories here. We want to make sure that people get affordable fertilisers," he said.

Several commentators, including some opposition parties and academics, have asked government to devise an exit-strategy for Fisp, saying it is not sustainable in the long run.

Some have argued that despite helping the country attain back-to-back years of surplus maize at national level, Fisp's shortfalls include failure among its beneficiaries to graduate to independence. Each year, almost the same beneficiaries are given coupons to buy subsidised fertiliser and seed.

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