Traditional leaders across Malawi will this year be provided with coupons for the subsidy fertilizer, as a strategy to prevent the chiefs from scrambling for coupons meant for their poor subject, President Joyce Banda announced on Saturday.

President Banda made the announcement in Chiradzulu, where she presided over the elevation ceremony of senior chief Kadewere.

Since the government introduced the fertilizer subsidies under the farm input subsidy programme about six years ago, the initiative has been marred by irregularities including corruption by the traditional leaders who were charged with the responsibility to identify beneficiaries as well as distribution of coupons.

Several chiefs have been arrested and prosecuted over the years after being found with coupons.

In her address at the function, President Banda warned the traditional leaders against being involved in corrupt practices when identifying beneficiaries.

She said “the malpractice defeats the purpose of the programme as it denies the targeted poor farmers from accessing the cheap fertilizer.”

Up to 1.4 million people are being targeted in this year’s subsidy programme up from at least 1.2 million last year.

Just like last season, the farmers will be buying a 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer at a subsidized price of 500 kwacha.

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