By Manasse Nyirenda:
Some beneficiaries of Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) in Rumphi have complained that they been struck off Affordable Inputs Programme(AIP) beneficiary list because they are on latter list.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency on Wednesday, Tiwonge Chirambo of Msuka Village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Mwaluweni in Rumphi said since she started receiving money from SCTP in 2018 she has never benefited from AIP.
She said authorities in the area told her that she cannot benefit from both AIP and SCTP because there are many needy people in the area.
“Let me say that since I started benefiting from SCTP my life has transformed for the better. I am able to pay school fees for my children and fend for my family.
However, fertilizer is very expensive at the moment. I cannot afford an unsubsidized bag of fertilizers. I receive K24,000 every two months from SCTP which is not even enough to buy one bag of fertilizer which sells at around K30, 000,” Chirambo observed.
Monica Zuranga of the same area was removed from AIP beneficiary list because she benefits from SCTP said she does not know where she would get money to for buying fertilizers.
Nkhando Village Development Committee (VDC) Chairperson, Andrew Msiska said the arrangement was hatched to enable many poor people in the area benefit from government safety net such initiatives.
“We ensure that no one befits from more than one safety net programs, so that such initiatives benefit more people,” he said.
Director of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources for Rumphi, Lumbani Msiska said the decision to side-line SCTP beneficiaries from AIP did not come from his office, but suspects that the community leaders are applying the previous arrangement under Farm Inputs Subsidy Programme (FISP).
“AIP targets all smallholder farmers who registered in the Ministry of Agriculture’s database and this means that everyone in the database has to benefit,” he added.
Msiska said under the FISP, communities on their own to ensure that as many poor people as possible benefit from such safety net interventions, a household targeted under FISP should not benefit from SCTP.
“But with AIP all smallholder farmers in our database are supposed to benefit,” he said.