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November 16, 2011

Malawi: fuel scarcity paralyzes subsidy fertilizer distribution

by Judith Moyo

Scarcity of fuel especially diesel has led to the delay in transportation of subsidized fertilizer and maize seed to farmers.

All vehicles that are hired to transport the farm inputs use diesel which is a very rare commodity in Malawi. Many farmers in the southern region of the country and part of the central region have already planted maize using seed from other sources.

Although government has completed distribution of coupons to enable households access fertilizer and maize seed, the farmers cannot get the commodities because they are not yet delivered to their areas.

In the few areas where delivery was made, Admarc officials have turned corrupt asking people to pay extra K1000 to buy a bag of fertilizer at the subsidized price of K500. Some have since been arrested.

Principal Secretary for Agriculture Erica Maganga on Tuesday told state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation that government has finished distributing coupons in all the 28 districts of the country.

Maganga also confirmed that the fuel scarcity has affected the distribution of the commodities.

“We have 1 000 Admarc markets and fuel we have not yet reached all of them because of fuel. But there are some filling stations which are allowed only to fuel vehicles which are hired to transport subsidized fertilizer,” said Maganga.

As the delays continue, rains have started coming and most households are likely to do without fertilizer and that would affect next year’s food production.

Nyasa Times

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