Eswatini Adopts An Agro-Value Chain Development
The Kingdom of Eswatini has managed to extensively analyse the high priority economic impact value chains to guide the development of the national strategy for the value chain development as a major step taken by Government toward promoting agro-processing and industrialisation in those chains.
This was made possible with support under the SADC TRF, financed by the EU, through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as part of the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, as well as Eswatini’s Industrial Development Policy (2015-2022) which outlines value addition and beneficiation of primary products as one of the policy statements to achieve resource based industrialisation.
Needs, challenges and strategies for upgrading the beef and fruits and vegetables value chains have been identified as falling in the following five categories: enabling environment; capacity building for the support institutions; development of basic infrastructure; technology transfer; and partnership building. The four value chains studied were fruits and vegetables, meat, honey and dairy.
The policy undertakes value chains analyses and diagnostics of priority sectors such as agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation and pharmaceuticals and other economic sectors to determine key areas for the development of value chains and how they can contribute optimally to promoting Eswatini’s industrialisation, creation of employment opportunities and economic growth.
While Eswatini had always recognised the importance of value addition in industrial development, there was no clear identification of constraints, challenges and opportunities for the promotion of value addition in the agricultural sector to inform the development of deliberate strategies. There was unsupported evidence in terms of the availability of raw materials, value chain actors, position in the chain, consumption and production patterns as well as current productive capacity and potential productive capacity and if productive capacity is low, what would be the factors preventing the country from operating at optimum capacity.
Through the SADC TRF project, an agro-value chain analysis study in Eswatini was undertaken by Food Safety Associates Ltd. The purpose was to bring forth key information and issues for guiding the development of a national agro-value chain development strategy and related action plan. Specifically, the analysis sought to:
- identify priority agro-produce (commodities) that are important to the economy of Eswatini based on potential export and employment;
- undertake the national value chain diagnostic study of the identified agro-value chains, determining key issues to guide re-organisation; and to identifying the change agents and leveraging points for policy and technical interventions;
- develop a national strategy for value chain development (agro-processing development and industrialisation) of the selected value chain building on existing opportunities and potential; and
- provide information to guide the development of the agro-processing component of Industrial Upgrading and Monitoring Programme that is aimed to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector.
Key enablers of success
The stakeholder participatory process as well as the identification of critical criteria in the selection of priority agro-value chains were key enablers of success for the strategy development process. An inclusive stakeholder engagement was undertaken, including all stakeholders in the priority sectors.
Criteria for the selection of priority value chains were identified as employment import substitution; export promotion; diversification; environmental sustainability; competitiveness; and positive gender effect.
In addition, there was a desk top review to identify the key commodities, including secondary data and information obtained from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) mandated to support, regulate or offer services to agro-value chains.
Significance to the SADC regional economic integration agenda
Article 4(2) of the SADC Protocol on Trade (key to also mention the SADC Protocol on Industry) provides that the process of intra-SADC tariff liberalisation should be accompanied by an industrialisation strategy to improve the competitiveness of SADC Member States. Under the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, 2015-2063, Member States have agreed to act collectively to implement effective strategies to boost the productive capacity of the region’s constituent economies. In particular, the Industrialisation Strategy recognises that agriculture remains the backbone of region’s economy and holds potential for the continent’s industrialisation through value addition. The value chain analysis has also identified the potential for national, regional and global value chains. Therefore, this TRF project intervention in Eswatini holds a significant contribution to the regional economic integration agenda of SADC.
Key lessons learnt
The major lesson learnt in this process is the fact that the development of policies and strategies has to be accompanied by an analytical process because strategies have to be supported by figures. Value chain strategies can be improved through evidence-based analytical inputs and inclusive stakeholder
The implementation of the strategy lies with the private sector. Government has to provide a conducive environment for effective implementation.
Name: Zamanyambose B. Mtetwa
Organisation: Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Trade – Industry Department
Phone: +268 2404 3201/6