VITA Magazine » COMMUNITAS » Yalla Italia! » SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER »

Article written

  • on 30.09.2014
  • at 05:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

From subsistence to profit, Swazi farmers get a helping hand 0

Mbabane – Farmers in Swaziland slowly venture away from subsistence agriculture into commercial, high-income and market-led forms of production.

Men in blue overalls are offloading vegetables from trucks while their female counterparts dress and pack the fresh produce before storing it in a cold room.

When another truck drives in, the packed items are loaded and the consignment is driven away again.

Such are the daily activities at Sidemane Farm, situated a few kilometres outside the Swazi capital of Mbabane.

“The farmers have a contract to supply me with baby vegetables throughout the year,” Themba Dlamini told IPS.

In turn, he supplies Woolworths stores in South Africa with the vegetables, a business he said was very “sensitive”. Not only does his client demand high quality vegetables, but he has to be on time when it comes to meeting deadlines.

He bought the E1.6 million business from its previous owner in 2005 and he says demand has been growing each year.

“I’m competing with other suppliers from South Africa and Kenya,” he said.

The contracted farmers are critical to the survival of his business because the 90-hectare land that is cultivated by the existing farmers is no longer enough. He needs more farmers to supply him.

With a staff of 95, Sidemane currently exports 25 tonnes of vegetables monthly, although there is a potential to expand to 40 tonnes. But for the company to meet its growing demand, it needs to train more farmers. Lack of adequate funding was a limiting factor.

continue reading on IPS Africa

By Mantoe Phakathi IPS Africa

Photo credit: technoserve.org

subscribe to comments RSS

There are no comments for this post

Please, feel free to post your own comment

* these are required fields

Project by VITA SOCIETÀ EDITORIALE S.P.A.
P.IVA 11273390150
ISCRIZIONE ROC N.3275
Direttore Responsabile afronline.org: Giuseppe Frangi
©2011-2015