BRITAIN is demanding increased transparency and accountability in the manner the Fertiliser Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) is implemented in Malawi because that country's taxpayers are involved in funding it.
Sarah Sanyahumbi, Head of Operations for the Department for International Development (DfID)- an international development arm of Britain, said her office wants the Malawi Government to publish the list of beneficiaries of the fertilizer subsidy programmes prior to the distribution of coupons and also the 2010/11 police report on counterfeit subsidy coupons.
"We really need progress in these areas. It is taxpayers' money used in these programmes, ours and yours. We need to make sure it is used wisely and we can account for it," Sanyahumbi said.
She was speaking in Lilongwe Wednesday at the start of a review meeting on the 2011/12 FISP.
She, however, observed that enhanced security of coupons had been achieved with support from the United Kingdom.
She said counterfeit coupons in the 2011-2012 programme were reduced by 80 per cent.
Almost echoing Sanyahumbi's call for publication of names of FISP beneficiaries, Farmers Union of Malawi officer Mphatso Dakamau told delegates later in a presentation that his office would recommend that the government should approve budgets for the programme a year before implementation.
"As it is at the moment, it causes a lot of inconveniences," Dakamau said.
On his part, Secretary for Agriculture and Food Security Jeffrey Luhanga noted that the meeting was an assessment of the outcome of the programme, the institutional performance, challenges met and how the challenges were eventually surmounted for lessons to be learnt for improved delivery later.
He said although only 1.5 million people are catered for in the programme, there were three million deserving Malawians who qualify as beneficiaries of the national food security programme.
The FISP was introduced in Malawi in the 2005-2006 financial year to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security at both household and national levels after an experience of famine.
Despite its success, it is dogged with challenges pertaining to distribution and access to coupons and farm inputs.