Farmers must produce crops within their farm budgets and production standards, and they must reduce ever-increasing production costs, such as by implementing solar in irrigated farms.
According to the LUSIP II log frame, the project has budgeted for 400 ha of maize in rotation with beans.
The World Food Programme (WFP) requested Eswatini farmers to supply 53 000 metric tonnes of sugar beans to the international market, and the local market supplied 10 000 metric tonnes last.
The WFP and the Ministry of Agriculture have an agreement that would enable Eswatini to supply about 53, 000 metric tonnes of sugar beans to the international market annually.
The Ministry of Agriculture, then urged the Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (ESWADE) to diversify the land allocated for agricultural purposes to accommodate sugar beans in the Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) II.
The ministry said the market would benefit local businesses as they would supply the product in large quantities, thus generating profit and stopping funds from entering the country.
It was stated that this would also help the country’s economy by lowering unemployment rates. The minister assigned ESWADE, to use the remaining unallocated land (about 400 hectares) to produce sugar beans as the market was available for the country.
“The remaining land labelled as ‘other’ in LUSIP should be used to address the country’s bean shortage; we have an international market that requires tonnes of beans annually.”
They also urged farmers to focus on scarce commodities because they perform better in the market. As a way of minimising the continuous rise of inputs in the sugar industry, the industry has initiated bulk input procurement facilities.
This would help in facilitating that growers can procure input at competitive prices as well as guarantee timely delivery, and correct specifications of input, benefiting from the economies of scale.
The revolving funds (RF) that was operated by the millers to assist growers in resuscitating their farms through the replanting of old ratoon fields were also a very good and much needed initiative.
The eligibility for the RF is still limited to certain growers (Big-Bend and Vuvulane). However, discussions were ongoing to extend the revolving funds to all growers across the industry.
“The high energy costs render some of the farms unprofitable since all sugarcane production is done under irrigation.”
The technical services are facilitating the adoption of energy saving practises like the installation of solar energy through working with service providers and financiers to ensure that growers can be assisted when installing solar energy panels.”
The government and industry were working closely together to ensure that water security was achieved to counter the effects of climate change, which come with erratic rainfall patterns such as extended drought periods and heavy rainfall.
This initiative to build more water storage dams was being driven by a high-level committee. The government has various financial schemes to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), especially those owned by youth, in obtaining capital funding for their businesses. These schemes have enough funds to finance capital projects for the youth, but they receive fewer applications that are not properly structured.
The poorly structured applications are rejected as per the norm of the application process, thus contributing to the funds remaining stagnant.
These financial institutions have attested to having rejected about 68 per cent of applications because they do not meet the criteria needed to be awarded the funds.
Uncertainty about the type of business requesting funding and its management structure is one of the key issues raised collectively.
The schemes said the business plans they received are almost identical in details per constituency, which proves a lack of attention to details, thus affecting funders’ confidence.