Lilongwe District legislators and ward councillors have ordered the council’s secretariat to discontinue implementation of the 2021/22 Affordable Input Programme (AIP)in protest over a reduction in the number of beneficiaries.
This came to light on Wednesday during a Lilongwe District Council extraordinary council meeting to brief members of Parliament (MPs), councillors and chiefs on the AIP.
During the meeting, Kumachenga Ward councillor Gift Mtolongo, who chairs the council’s service committee, read a report that recommended the secretariat to stop implementing the AIP.
He said: “This year, Lilongwe has 413 137 beneficiaries to benefit from 576 720 beneficiaries that benefitted last year.
“This means that 163 583 beneficiaries have been dropped, representing a 28 percent drop; hence, we insist that the district’s agriculture office should not undertake any preparation for the implementation of the programme until we meet relevant authorities.”
Lilongwe district commissioner Lawford Palani said he understood the concerns, but requested that his office and that of the director of agriculture should proceed with paperwork like other districts to avoid lagging behind.
“Delays may affect service delivery as Lilongwe is a big district,” he said.
However, Lilongwe North legislator Monica Chang’anamuno (Malawi Congress Party) said they understand the concerns from the secretariat.
“But we are not happy with the allocation. We want to correct things and ask government to revise the figures,” she said.
Lilongwe District Council chairperson Gamaliyele Chisoni warned council officials to be sensitive in the manner they will handle the issue, saying any interaction with beneficiaries may lead to acts of violence as people are trying to seek answers.
Last month, the Ministry of Agriculture announced a reduction of AIP beneficiaries to 2.7 million from 3.7 million in the 2020/21 growing season.