By Staff Writer:
The decision by President Lazarus Chakwera to fire Lobin Lowe and Magrate Kambauwa Wirima of their duties as Minister of Agriculture and deputy respectively amid the mess that had marred this year’s Affordable Input Programme (AIP) continues to attract praises from commentators in the country.
On Tuesday evening, Chakwera announced that he has sacked Lowe and Kambawuwa for gross negligence and incompetence in the manner they have handled this year’s AIP.
Among others, Chakwera observed that the Minister and his deputy were careless in how they allowed money amounting to over MK750 million be transfered to a British company that was contracted to facilitate importation of fertilizer for this year’s AIP.
Chakwera has since appointed Sam Kawale who was Lands Minister to head the Ministry of Agriculture.
Reacting to the changes, renowned Agriculture Commentator Leonard Chimwaza has hailed Chakwera for taking a bold step to clear the mess at the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Bravo Mr President this was long overdue. We needed these changes long time ago but still more all is not lost yet and I believe the new minister will get down to business instantly,” said Chimwaza.
Meanwhile another Commentator Victor Chipofya of the Malawi University of Business and Apllied Sciences (MUBAS) has hailed Chakwera for proposing instant changes in the manner AIP should be managed from next year.
In his Teusday night address Chakwera hinted on the need to turn AIP productive by empowering farmers to migrate from subsistence to commercial farming.
Chakwera observed that with the current set up farmers will continue relying on affordable inputs year in year out as AIP is not helping them to migrate into commercial farming.
Commenting on the proposed changes, Chipofya, a good governance commentator has welcomed the changes saying that is the only available solution to achieve food security.
“I welcome the proposed changes in the management of AIP. What has to be done now is to set timelines on when he wants these changes acheived to avoid the very same business as usual approach which we have witnessed in the past,” said Chipofya.
Government is yet to announce the total number of targeted beneficiaries for this year’s AIP but a total of K188 billion has already been set aside for the procurement of inputs under this year’s programme.