Agriculture experts for AIP redesigning

Agricultural experts in the country have called for rebranding and redesigning of the government sponsored Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) if the country was to achieve household and 1 food security.

The call was made on Thursday evening in Lilongwe, at a round table discussion organized by MwaPATA Institute, on the options for redesigning the program.

Presenting recent AIP research findings, Dr. Christone Nyondo, a MwaPATA Institute research fellow said subsidy programmes have underachieved their purposes because of ineffective targeting, displaced private sector commercial sales, and low declining maize yields among other things.

While calling for reforms in the programme, Dr. Nyondo said government has to ensure proper alignment of programmes saying AIP has dominated other equally important agricultural activities.

“Sustained investments in infrastructure and social services would be more beneficial as the gains that may be realized would be more those of the subsidy programme alone,” he said.

Nyondo: AIP needs to be reformed

A Representative of Agricultural Committee of Parliament, Owen Chomanika said the redesigning process should focus on other agricultural programmes as well saying a big chunk of government resources goes towards the affordable inputs programme alone.

Principal Secretary for Economic Planning and Development, Prof. Winford Masanjala said subsidies like the AIP are indispensable saying what matters the most was how they are managed to ensure sustainability.

“We all agree with MwaPATA Institute that the AIP indeed needs to be redesigned in a way that it creates value for money for Malawians also considering issues of targeting in the programme,” he said.

According to the PS, the issue for Malawi however is the question if at all the subsidy programme was fiscally sustainable to deliver the real value for money at cost-efficiency.

Issues to do with objectives of the AIP, it’s targeting, package, quality, diversification and other complementary programme to be aligned with the social protection programmes were discussed at length.

MwaPATA institute is an independent agricultural policy think tank in the country.