By Wanangwa Tembo – Mana

Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale says all fertilisers under the 2023/2024 Agriculture Input Programme (AIP) will be in the country by end of this month with selling to commence early September.

Kawale said the process of bidding, evaluation and selection of companies to supply fertiliser was already completed and the contracts will be signed next week.

He was speaking Friday during the launch of the national catchment conservation and management campaign at Mnjinge Village in Kasungu North North Constituency.

Said Kawale: “There are about 15 companies that will supply fertiliser this year. We are just waiting for ‘no objection’ from PPDA [Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority] and then we will be signing contracts in the next week or two.

“In July and August, we will be preparing final logistics. If all goes well, we will be launching on 1st September and finish everything by November 30.”

He said the ministry recognises that the last year’s programme implementation exercise was marred by some challenges such as network glitches, inadequate sales personnel and mobile phones used for mobile vending and assured that the challenges have been dealt with.

He said the system has been perfected and everything is in order and transport has been properly arranged.

“On shortage of personnel, we have moved forward to recruit temporary sales clerks and we have procured enough mobile phones for mobile vending.

“As a way of reaching out to more people, we will have a group of old and labour-constrained people under social cash transfer; the second group will be put under public works; the third group will be on AIP and the fourth will be under agricultural commercialisation [Agcom] which is now the biggest investment in the agricultural sector. We are talking of K265 billion or more which will benefit farmers through Agcom,” he said.

On the national catchment conservation and management campaign, the minister said land degradation over the years has resulted in low yields for most farmers in the communities hence the need to adopt new farming methods that encourage environmental sustainability.

Traditional Authority (TA) Simlemba said there is need to promote land conservation to boost yields and make households food secure.

He encouraged farmers to intensify manure making instead of relying on inorganic fertilisers.

The campaign was launched under the theme ‘catchment conservation for enhanced climate resilience, food and nutrition security’.




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