Police have uncovered that racketeers in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) are also siphoning the fertiliser off its bags, rendering the 50kg bag eventually underweight.
Southern Region police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said this was discovered after the police in Blantyre last week intercepted 640 bags meant for the programme.
The fertiliser had been diverted to a Ndirande New Lines house but the bags belonged to Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi [SFFRFM] and were meant for the subsidy programme.
The input was being transported by Trans Nabila truck, registration number MLZ 84-39, with a trailer registration number MT 648.
Gondwa said at the time the police arrived at the house, 40 bags had already been offloaded and had been packed in the house.
He said physical weighing of the fertiliser at SFFRFM office in Blantyre discovered that 400 bags were underweight.
The driver of the truck, Ivyn Isiye, 40, from Makankhula village, traditional authority Kaphuka in Dedza, confessed before the police to have siphoned the fertiliser from some of the bags.
“He said that they use pipes to siphon the fertiliser from the bags. Looking at the bag, you can’t suspect or think that it is not a full 50kg bag. They do it in such a way that the bag is not damaged,” Gondwa said.
The police also uncovered a similar incident in Chilomoni two weeks ago where six Sigelege Admarc officials were suspected to have connived with fertiliser vendors.
This was after two vendors were arrested in the township for being found in possession of fertiliser without proper documentation.
The two vendors, Peter Malungeni and Dan Malua, were initially found with two bags of fertiliser.
However, a police search in their houses found a further 849 kgs of two different types of fertiliser.
Gondwa said Police investigations show that the fertiliser may have been siphoned off the stock at Sigelege Admarc warehouse.
In another development, 41 bags of fertiliser were seized at Kamuzu Bridge road block in Chikhwawa on Monday.
Police had found the fertiliser hidden under cotton bales in a truck but the driver of the truck failed to explain the source and destination of the fertiliser.
In Zomba, 300 other bags of fertiliser have gone missing after a man only identified by the Police as Chikopa was assigned to transport them from Chirimba to Songani in the district.
The police are investigating the matter.
In the past week, police in Blantyre and Chikhwawa have rescued over 900 bags of fertiliser meant for the subsidy programme.
Last month, 114 bags in a truck load of fertiliser meant for the programme were found to have been filled with sand in Mangochi.
The ‘fertiliser’ is currently undergoing tests at Bvumbwe and Chitedze agriculture research stations.