The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) together with other Regional Farmers’ Organizations (RFOs), AGRICORD and Pacific Island Farmers’ Organization Network (PIFON) are implementing a programme named the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP). The program is funded by the European Commission (EC) and International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). The goal of the program is to increase income and improve livelihood, food and nutrition security and safety of organized smallholder and family farmers in the target areas of the ACP countries. FO4ACP is also implemented with the backdrop of the successful implementation of Support to Farmers’ Organizations in Africa Programme (SFOAP) and FO4ACP will build on the achievements made from the implementation of SFOAP main phase. It is scheduled to run for a period of five years from 2019 to 2023. The total budget for the program is EUR40 million to be distributed among all the implementing institutions. SACAU, as is the case with other RFOs is allocated EUR3 698 750 which is distributed among the 9 National Farmers’ Organizations (NFOs), including ESNAU.
Overall Goal and Objectives of the Program
The goal of the programme is to increase income and to improve livelihood, food and nutrition security and safety of organized smallholder and family farmers. Specifically, the programme will aim at:
- Improving the capacity of FOs and farmer-led enterprises to provide technical and economic services to their members along some selected value chains;
- Enhancing the capacity of FOs to influence policies and business environments for the transformation of family farming and the development of sustainable, adaptive economic initiatives and farmer-led enterprises; and
- Capacitating FOs to be accountable organizations to effectively perform their institutional functions
2. ESNAU FARMER INPUT PROGRAM (EFIP)
Small holder farmers are often faced with numerous challenges which affect their productivity resulting in food insecurity and poverty. Access to finance in dry land production has been one of the major challenges which affects maize production in the country resulting in import reliance. Maize is a staple food for Eswatini consumed daily by 90% of the households. The climatic requirements for maize production are favorable mainly in the Highveld and Middleveld of the country which is hardly affected by drought. Farmers in such areas are more willing to produce more food to feed the entire country, however the cost of production is high. Efforts has been made by the government of Eswatini to subsidize production cost by 50%, however it was noticed that the production levels are still not enough to eliminate imports and that there are still households who have massive land for production but lack funding for the cost of inputs.
In collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture, ESNAU assist farmers in high maize producing areas to produce maize to address food security problems in the country. The assistance is through a revolving fund where farmers can borrow inputs to produce and pay after harvesting. To ensure that yields are improved and farmers are able to repay loans, the Ministry of Agriculture and ESNAU work together to address all the gaps within the maize value chain such as ensuring reliable tractor service, technical expertise, farmer mentorships, trainings and linkages with markets. Farmers are supported with appropriate seed and equipment to enable them increase productivity. So far the program has been implemented in Sigangeni, Siphocosini, Lamgabhi (Etiyeni), Gege, Dumako, KaPhunga, Mahlalini, Sigombeni and Tikhuba which are areas selected by extension officers with high rainfall and higher yields of maize recorded in the previous years. These areas are called Maize Block Area (MBA) since farmers work in groups.
On average, each farmer is supported to work on 1 hectare. To ensure that the principle of economies of scale is utilized, bulk buying of inputs is managed and coordinated by ESNAU.
To contribute towards food security for households in high maize and beans producing areas
Objectives of the program:
-To financially prepare farmers for the planting season by ensuring access to inputs loans,
-To timeously access farming inputs for production,
-To improve production and productivity of maize, beans in the country and reduce imports
-To enhance household food security and income generation.
-To increase knowledge and skills of farmers in maize and beans production and productivity
-To improve the value chain for maize from inputs procurement to marketing
The country’s economic situation has been visibly seen getting critical ever since the pandemic COVID-19 force-stopped most economical activities and national borders. This has had a great impact on farmers and farmer enterprises in the country due to disrupted supply chains and markets in the agricultural industry. Farmers and farmer enterprises continue to struggle with a number of challenges such as high costs of farming inputs, inadequate access to markets, and difficulty to pay loans.
In October 2020, ESNAU started implementing a project known as “Support African Farmers in 2020 Emergency (SAFE 2020)” which is funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) through the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU). The project implementation period is 15 months with a budget allocation of USD97 796.00 divided among maize, beans, piggery and vegetable farmers. The project supported 695 farmers in the 2020/2021 growing season to access the Government Input subsidy program for maize and beans production.
The project continues to support over 160 farmers in vegetable production, 130 in piggery and 947 more farmers in maize and beans production in the 2021/2022 season.
The objective of the project is to assist smallholder farmers to recover from the pandemic by helping them to better access farming inputs so that they can re-engage in production and marketing of the four above listed commodities.