twitter RSS Feed linkedin acp contact

The plight of smallholder sugar cane farmers in Swaziland

As a consequence of a 37 per cent decline in the value of the Euro against the Rand since 2002, the smallholder sugar farming sector in Swaziland is facing a severe financial crisis

Smallholder sugar farming sector in Swaziland is facing a severe financial crisis Smallholder sugar farming sector in Swaziland is facing a severe financial crisis

This was a major factor contributing to a 21 per cent decline in the sucrose price between 2002 and 2005. With smallholder farmers responsible for investment in on-farm capital equipment including irrigation systems, the decline in the sucrose price has had profound effects on their financial viability. This is further compounded by the high interest rates charged on their finance.


Currently, newly established smallholder sugar farmers pay some 31 per cent of total earnings in interest for both seasonal and capital loans. In many cases, this leaves insufficient funds to cover even the repayment of the seasonal loan.  This is contributing to growing levels of indebtedness amongst smallholder sugar farmers. 

  This is proving a direct challenge to the operation of farmer associations as this leaves no income for distribution to members. Some of the farmers are finding their own solutions to the income needs of their families and such activities have led to a deterioration in the efficiency of smallholder sugar production.

Reversing declining efficiency


It is essential that this downward cycle of declining efficiency be halted and reversed, before the financial effects of EU sugar sector reform are felt through the wider economy in Swaziland.  Without such reversal and support, newly established smallholder sugar farms will become financially non-viable. The key to reversing this downward cycle is the financial restructuring of smallholder loans, and concerted efforts to improve efficiency.


Financial restructuring of existing loans is essential, since without it smallholder farmers will see no personal benefit from the implementation of measures to improve yields, increase sucrose content and reduce seasonal costs. Put simply, under current circumstances the benefits of any improvements in production efficiency are not realised as the beneficiaries of such are the owners of the capital they have borrowed. The argument goes thus, “why improve when the one to benefit from such will be the bank, not me?”. Also, the average operating costs in the smallholder sugar sector increase 40 per cent since 2002.


LATEST NEWS IN Agriculture

African food imports bill predicted to double by 2030

African food imports bill predicted to d…

Experts have warned that the cost of Africa’s yearly food imports could increase from US$50bn to US$110bn by 2030 if immediate measures aren’t taken to increase food production

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spotlight

Wildlife and forestry sector in the spot…

On August 22, the 23rd session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, hosted by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo opened in Kinshasa, putting the future...

Boosting investment for Africa-made cotton

Boosting investment for Africa-made cott…

At a partner’s conference on cotton, jointly organised with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), donors were urged to mobilise resources for new partnerships.   

Nature-based solutions help farmers in Ghana

Nature-based solutions help farmers in G…

Organic pesticides, waste-based fertilisers and forest regeneration are just a few of the green initiatives being employed in Ghana to boost farming communities’ resilience to the impacts of climate...

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Saharan Africa

Boosting soil nutrient mapping in sub-Sa…

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is set to fast track an impact-oriented project in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America for digital soil nutrient mapping, after...

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double rice production to curb food insecurity

Gambia-Korea partnership seeks to double…

President Adama Barrow has received a delegation led by the Korean Ambassador to The Gambia, HE Kim Ji-Joon, at the State House in Banjul to announce the delivery of sample rice...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

AGCO sponsors youth investment summit in Africa

AGCO sponsors youth investment summit in…

An event held last week in Accra, Ghana, explored issues surrounding the way young people have been playing a transformational role in agriculture across the world

Mansa Sugar plans sugar factory in Zambia for US$6.6mn

Mansa Sugar plans sugar factory in Zambi…

Mansa Sugar Limited is planning a sugar plantation and processing factory in Chembe, Zambia for around US$6.63mn

Waste not, want not: turning harvest waste into electricity

Waste not, want not: turning harvest was…

When even waste material can be used to produce energy, it’s a win-win situation all round

Workshop held to reduce wastage of perishable agricultural produce

Workshop held to reduce wastage of peris…

The development of a Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) in Mauritius is the focus of a two-day technical workshop which is being held on on 16 and 17 February 2022

FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armyworm in Africa

FAO launches guide to tackle Fall Armywo…

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched a comprehensive guide on the integrated pest management of the FAW on maize

Ivan Meyer calls on companies to support farm workers

Ivan Meyer calls on companies to support…

Ivan Meyer calls on retail companies who benefitted from Black Friday to support the farmers and farm workers

AfDB, Portugal and Cabo Verde to accelerate agribusiness, private sector development

AfDB, Portugal and Cabo Verde to acceler…

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the governments of Cabo Verde and Portugal have signed a country-specific memorandum of understanding to implement the Lusophone Compact, which aims to transform sectors...

Portucel revises investment to US$3bn in Mozambique forestry project

Portucel revises investment to US$3bn in…

Portugal’s pulp and paper company Portucel has increased its forecast investment in a major forestry project in Mozambique to US$3bn from US$2.5bn

CNH Industrial becomes Augmenta’s strategic partner in crop sensing and machinery automation

CNH Industrial becomes Augmenta’s strate…

Acquiring a minor stake in Augmenta, CNH Industrial becomes Augmenta’s strategic partner in crop sensing and machinery automation, and also foresees future joint research and development collaboration

Monsanto dedicates US$50 million to African agricultural development

Monsanto dedicates US$50 million to Afri…

Multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto Company has announced that it will provide US$50 million to support sustained agricultural development and growth across Africa over the next ten years

Pan-African support centre for farmer organisations launched

Pan-African support centre for farmer or…

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has launched a new initiative - Farmer Organisations Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA) - to support various farmer organisations in Ghana...

8 Miles invest in Africa's leading fresh fruit producer

8 Miles invest in Africa's leading fresh…

8 Miles LLP, the pan-African Private Equity firm, announced an investment in Blue Skies, a UK-incorporated business with operations in several African countries that is the leader in the production...

Prev Next