Nkhotakota — Nkhotakota district is expected to have more yields this year than last season following the increase in number of farmers that will benefit from Affordable Inputs Program (AIP).
According to the district's Crops Officer who is also AIP Desk Officer for the district, Leonard Chirwa the increase in harvest is likely coming as a result of the increase of beneficiaries of the Affordable Input Program as compared to the previous years.
Speaking in an Interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Monday, Chirwa said over 85 000 smallholder farmers will benefit from Affordable Input Program (AIP) this season.
Chirwa said the number represents a huge increase from last year's abandoned Farm Input Subsidy Program which had only 15,500 beneficiaries.
He said this is a welcome development and many smallholder farmers in the district will have more food than last season.
"We're very optimistic that this year Nkhotakota will have more yields than before," said Chirrwa.
However, Chirwa said this year's program had a few challenges in the district, arising from errors in the National Identification Cards which did not match beneficiary details.
He said his office had been working with the National Registration Bureau to rectify the errors for the smooth running of the program since the farmers will be using national IDs to buy the farm inputs.
In Nkhotakota, AIP is expected to benefit smallholder farmers with 17,138 hectares of land and expected yield of 428.5 metric tonnes.
The Tonse Alliance government has this year allocated over K120 Billion towards the AIP program up from K35.5 billion Kwacha allocated for a similar Program last year.
This year over 3.5 million smallholder farmers are expected to benefit from the program which will see a 50 kg bag of fertiliser selling at K4,495.00 each and a 5 kg seed pack for cereals to be sold at K2,000.00.
The farmers will start accessing the agricultural inputs this week soon after the launch.