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Malawi farmers brace for less aid next farming season

Farmers in Malawi will soon be facing new problems as a governmental subsidised plan will be reduced next farming season, IRIN reports.

The Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) was started in 2005 by president Bingu wa Matharika as a way to give more than 200,000 farmers the means to be able to grow enough food to feed their families. Although the program has been successful, it has also been costly. During the 2010 and 2011 farming season, an estimated 1.6 million farmers received aid through the FISP to purchase fertilizer and maize seeds. This cost the government $152 million dollars.

As the economy continues to unravel in the country, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security recently announced that next season only 1.4 million farmers will be eligible to receive vouchers.

"People had enough maize this year, but since they didn't get good prices for their tobacco, they had to sell their maize [to generate cash]" Lizzie Shumba, coordinator of a humanitarian project to improve food security in northern Malawi farming communities, told the publication. "So I'm foreseeing that this season we might have some hunger, and if they don't get fertilizer it will be even worse next season."
 
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