By KWANELE DHLADHLA | 2021-05-07
Taking performance to the next level! National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Siphephiso Dlamini informed the Editors Forum that this motto has been adopted by the organisation in its quest to bolster agricultural production with intent to ultimately achieve food security.
He disclosed that as part of their strategy, they had resolved to position agri business as the driver of economic growth since it has been discovered that it has massive potential for growth.
Dlamini said the positioning of agribusiness as a solution for the future was based on awareness that Eswatini has a competitive advantage in some crops, which, they were currently upscaling as they remain highly desired in other African countries and continents.
“A patient development of the industry in the country is imperative to ensure that key efficiencies are acquired to enable Eswatini farmers to compete against the best in the market,” he said.
Dlamini said this would be achieved through strengthening stakeholder relations, improving service delivery, reducing inefficiencies, responding to agricultural production changes and market clut situations together with hastening farmer payments. The CEO reported that there had been impressive growth in the agricultural industry over the last couple of years.
He pointed out that this could best be demonstrated by the increased land under irrigation and farming, which has improved from only 500 hectares in 2015 to approximately 2 000 hectares to date.
Further justifying the growth within the farming landscape, Dlamini mentioned that the 2 000 hectares was only for direct farming. Otherwise, he said when they take into account on and off farmers, the total area of land under irrigation and farming stands at about 4 000 hectares.
“The target is to have over 7 000 hectares under irrigation and farming of vegetables, fruits and other crops by 2030,” forecasted Dlamini. Dlamini, who boasts of vast knowledge on the agricultural landscape, also advised the media fraternity that there remains a massive market for a number of crops, which include but not limited to, avocado and macadamia nuts. “We are transforming to excellence,” Dlamini promised.
In line with the goal of ensuring that farmers derive maximum value from their produce through being linked with markets, Dlamini announced that NAMBoard has implemented an Agricultural Marketing Information System (AMIS) with a growing 1500 registered users.
He explained that this website was aimed at connecting farmers to markets and supporting farmers with critical market related information. “AMIS is expected to add undeniable value to Eswatini’s agricultural landscape, bringing under one umbrella all intelligence relating to the demand and supply of fresh produce and animal products.
The website has been visited over 13 000 times since its launch in 2018,” said Dlamini. NAMBoard is the kingdom’s national agricultural marketing board enabled by Act No. 13 of 1985 and mandated with facilitating markets for farmers and assisting them with production, processing, storage, transportation, distribution and sale of schedule products.
NAMBoard is also responsible for registering wholesale distributors, importers and exporters of scheduled products as well as advising government on availability and demand of scheduled products.
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