Logo

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 Development Fund approves US$6.4mn grant to increase financial access for agricultural value chain entrepreneurs

African Development Fund approves US$6.4…

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB’s) concessional lending window, has approved a grant US$6.4mn to Gambia to implement the Incentive-Based Risk-Sharing...

Esri partners with Microsoft to support sustainable agriculture development in Africa

Esri partners with Microsoft to support …

To help support government and non-profit organisations on the continent address climate change, water supply and food security challenges, Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, has collaborated with Microsoft...

USAID and NASA renew partnership to address development and humanitarian challenges

USAID and NASA renew partnership to addr…

On 4 November, Administrator Samantha Power signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to renew...

Norway promises top-up contribution of urgently needed climate finance

Norway promises top-up contribution of u…

On 9 November 2022, Norway, as part of a commitment to triple its support to climate adaptation by 2026, has pledged an additional US$9.5mn contribution of urgently needed climate finance...

CotonChad and IDH sign partnership with Better Cotton

CotonChad and IDH sign partnership with …

Better Cotton recently signed a multi-stakeholder Letter of Intent to participate in the landscape approach, developed with local stakeholders in Chad in conjunction with IDH, intending to work towards improving...

NFU president Minette Batters appointed as ambassador of Farm Africa

NFU president Minette Batters appointed …

Farm Africa, a charity that promotes sustainable agricultural practices, strengthens markets and protects the environment in rural eastern Africa, has announced the appointment of NFU president Minette Batters as an...

Prev Next

OTHER RELATED ARTICLES - Agriculture

Ghanaian farmers to benefit from cocoa incentives

Ghanaian farmers to benefit from cocoa i…

Ghana has announced to offer 50mn free cocoa seedlings and bags of fertiliser to farmers to help improve their yield and income

Switzerland donates US$1.02mn to fight desert locust outbreak in East Africa

Switzerland donates US$1.02mn to fight d…

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is donating US$1.02mn to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to tackle massive...

Zimbabwe considering scrapping fertiliser import duty

Zimbabwe considering scrapping fertilise…

Zimbabwe’s government may remove the import duty on fertilisers this season to help reduce production costs for farmers

Integrated Pest management to stimulate crop protection chemical sales over long term, opines Fact.MR

Integrated Pest management to stimulate …

As per industry analysis on crop protection chemicals by an ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm, the market is anticipated to be valued at US$72.9bn in 2021, increasing at a...

AfDB to support cocoa industry in Africa

AfDB to support cocoa industry in Africa

With the increase of cocoa production in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has initiated plans to support producers of the crop across the continent

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency supports Guinean farmers

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Age…

In cooperation with TİKA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Guinea, 75 tonnes of corn was harvested on a total of 15 hectares of land...

Cassava virus on verge of epidemic in East Africa

Cassava virus on verge of epidemic in Ea…

Experts urge funding, swift action to protect staple food crop

EU and Solidaridad sign US$5.89mn deal to develop Liberia’s cocoa sector

EU and Solidaridad sign US$5.89mn deal t…

Emma Sundblad, Chargé d’affaires at the delegation of the European Union (EU) to Liberia, and Isaac Gyamfi, regional director at Solidaridad West Africa, have signed US$5.89mn grant agreement to develop...

Bayer, Yara join to hands to deliver technology to farmers

Bayer, Yara join to hands to deliver tec…

Bayer and Yara International ASA (Yara) have entered into a software collaboration and technology license agreement to provide farmers worldwide with digital farming tools that help increase farm productivity, profitability...

West Africa is all prepped up for desertification COP15

West Africa is all prepped up for desert…

West African representatives from the ministries of planning and finance, environment, and other stakeholders had gathered in Abidjan on 5-6 May 2022 for a capacity-building workshop on addressing land degradation...

Namibia green scheme to target barley farming

Namibia green scheme to target barley fa…

More of Namibia’s green scheme projects are to be used to cultivate barley, it has emerged this week

Good Nature Agro secures funding to accelerate production of legume value chains

Good Nature Agro secures funding to acce…

Good Nature Agro, a Zambian company working from end-to-end within the specialised legume value chains, has announced the closure of Series A equity financing totalling US$ 2.1mn

Prev Next

Template Design © Joomla Templates | GavickPro. All rights reserved.