Upscaling Climate Smart market-oriented Agriculture in Eswatini
As part of its endeavour to enhance the resilience of the COMESA Region to climate change challenge, the COMESA Intra-ACP GCCA+ Programme, has supported the implementation of a Euro 636,364 worth – Climate Smart Market-Oriented Agriculture (CSMA) project to upscale market-led small-scale commercial agriculture in Eswatini. The project is run in collaboration with the National Agriculture Marketing Board (NAMBoard) and Ministry of Agriculure (MoA) of Eswatini, as well as UNDP. It aims to reach at least 500 households, benefitting 2500 people in four Farmers Irrigation Schemes (FIS), in the Manzini Region, a district in the centre of Eswatini. The FIS concerned are namely those of: Intamakuphila, Mavulnadlela and Mpatheni.
Despite the setback from the COVID pandemic, and heavy rains experienced in the Intamakuphila FIS, the CSMA project has nonetheless achieved important results. These are summarised below.
1. The drip irrigation systems installations in the Intamakuphila FIS are expected to improve the current water saving irrigation system in the schemes and command area from 25ha to 33ha.
2. Peer learning has been promoted between beneficiary farmers from Intamakuphila, and those from Mpatheni for firsthand exchange of experience about the new drip irrigation systems.
3. Farmers have been successfully linked to formal markets in four FIS (Mavulandlela, Nhleetjeni, Intamakuphila and Nkhungwini FIS) through a revolving fund. The cumulative tonnage for the crops (Butternuts, Cabbage heads and tomatoes) produced in the participating schemes has been 402 MT generating a total revenue of US 23, 624.00.
4. A Field-based cold storage facility has been developed from a rehabilitated farm shed at Intamakuphila FIS. A second cold room is envisaged if current constraints are overcome.
5. Rural farmers capacities for conservation agriculture (CA) have been improved through the establishment of demonstration plots, where farmers are shown how to use of CA implements (boom sprayers, rippers and mist blowers).
6. A revolving Loan Facility has been established. As a result of this project, a total of 160 farmers have accessed funds amounting to some $9332.