Friday 2018-02-23

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SPINACH SCARCITY HITS MAIN MARKETS, CABBAGE APLENTY

By Hlengiwe Ndlovu | 2018-02-15

SPINACH continues to be scarce in most of the country’s main markets, but just not cabbage.

Information released by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Marketing Advisory Unit shows that spinach was scarce at Mahlanya, Encabeni and Manzini markets with only the Mbabane market having the leafy vegetable in stock.

Cabbage on the other hand was plenty at Mahlanya and Mbabane markets, confirming observations made in a Public Enterprises Unit (PEU) report of March 31, 2017 that local farmers continue to produce cabbage in large quantities as compared to other vegetables.

Despite being available in large quantities, the price of cabbage was still high as it cost E15 per head at Mbabane and Manzini markets while it cost E10 at Mahlanya market. According to the PEU report, farmers produced 108 metric tonnes of cabbage, 77 metric tonnes of butternut and 40 metric tonnes of tomato, all of which were delivered to NAMboard in the last quarter.

NAMboard Agriculture Business Manager Tammy Dlamini recently told participants in an African Development Bank workshop that lack of research poses a pitfall for local farmers as many still produce what they see others producing.

He made an example with cabbages that when one farmer sees another succeeding with this vegetable, they also want to produce it without giving thought about diversification.

Shortfalls were also experienced with vegetables such as cauliflower, cucumber, brinjals, baby marrows and butternut.

Fruits that were reportedly in scarcity at Encabeni market were nectarines, peaches, paw paws and mangoes while tomato, beetroot, potatoes and butternut were reportedly in abundance.

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