By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, November 12, Mana: Government has urged members of the public to dial 3013 to alert authorities on any anomaly regarding the implementation of Affordable Input Programme (AIP).
Minister of Information, Gospel Kazako made the call Thursday during a Media briefing on AIP together with Ministers of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe and Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo at Golden Peacock hotel in Lilongwe.
He said government has noted a lot of anomalies in the implementation of 2020/2201 AIP saying members of the public need to take up their responsibility to report them to authorities by dialing 3013 toll line which is free of charge.
“If you see vendors buying national identity cards, if input suppliers are asking you to top up for you to buy the inputs, if you notice that you have been sold underweight bags of fertilizer simply dial 3013 using Airtel and TNM mobile services, we will respond to those calls immediately,” Kazako assured.
He said stallholder farmers should not allow vendors to exploit them by buy their IDs to be used to redeem their farm inputs.
“We will arrest the owner the ID and the vendor if found doing the malpractice. We want to run a smooth AIP where the beneficiaries should reap fruits from the programmes. Don’t allow anyone to use you IDS to redeem the inputs that is not allowed and is illegal before the law,” the Minister added.
He disclosed that government and input suppliers agreed to operate from 6 am to 7 pm on daily basis and suppliers should adhere to the stipulated time frame.
Kazako pointed out that any supplier failing to adhere to the stated operating business time should be reported to authority immediately using the toll line made available to them.
“We need to speed up the process of redeeming the farm inputs and suppliers need to observe time so that beneficiaries should served better,” he stated.
Lowe added that, “We have received reports that some companies are selling underweight bags of fertilizers to farmers. This has been observed in some retail markets across the country where the suppliers are siphoning fertilizers from the bags.”
He cautioned the suppliers that this was robbery because farmers are supplied to be sold required amounts of fertilizer not underweight.
Lowe noted that it was against the law to do such action which may end up frustrating the programme.
“In the event that suppliers are found being involved in this act of siphoning inputs, selling underweight or indeed selling counterfeit inputs not compliant to specification, their contract will be terminated forthwith,” Agriculture Minister explained.
He said government would ensure that those doing this malpractice are arrested and brought before the law.
Civic Education Minister, Mtambo said his Ministry through National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE Trust would continue providing intensive civic education to farmers to be aware of such malpractices.
He said it was worrying that social media was used to propagate misinformation regarding the AIP.