By Iommie Chiwalo
Minister of Agriculture has responded to concerns raised by human rights organisation Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) saying the reduction was based on a number of factors including the resource envelope as well as type of beneficiaries.
CDEDI wrote the minister on August 25, 2021, a demand letter with the title: ‘CONCERNS ON THE NEEDLESS SCALLING DOWN EXERCISE OF THE AIP BENEFICIARIES FOR THE 2021/2022 GROWING SEASON.’
But in his response dated August 26, 2021, and made available to this publication, the Minister Lobin Lowe has highlighted that the decision was largely based on resource envelope.
He pointed out that the AIP in 2021/2022 was allocated K142 billion whereby K126 billion was allocated to fertilizer and that the balance of K16 billion was allocated to seeds and logistics.
Lowe also clarifies that the number was trimmed looking at the fact that some beneficiaries were not supposed to benefit from the programme.
“The figure came as per resources allocated and that some beneficiaries such as civil servants are not supposed to appear on the list,” he said.
Lowe has however said that the option was just a preliminary guidance that was given as the ministry was exploring avenues to ensure that all the deserving beneficiaries are not missed.
“We are currently engaging Ministry of Finance on how we can get the shortfall to fulfill the number of intended beneficiaries,” he said.
Lowe has since invited CDEDI to a round table meeting, should there be issues that may require further explanation and clarifications on the response.
Meanwhile CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa says his organisation will use the roundtable discussions as an opportunity to iron out some grey areas that have been observed in Hon. Lowe’s response.
“As CDEDI is waiting for the date for this meeting, we thought we needed to share with you, fellow Malawians, the minister’s official response to our demand letter and be assured that will use the roundtable discussions as an opportunity to iron out some grey areas,”
Lowe’s response is a persistent pure contradiction with the impression that his Boss President Lazarus Chakwera is creating to the masses whereby he is insinuating that no one will be scrapped off from the AIP list of beneficiaries.