Eswatini highest COMESA sugar exporter

 Eswatini highest COMESA sugar exporter

Eswatini highest COMESA sugar exporter.

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For three years in a row, Eswatini has been the highest exporter of sugar among the 19 Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The other 18 COMESA countries are Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The country that has sugar as its main export commodity, has sold 200 000 tonnes of duty-free sugar to Kenya over the past three years.

Eswatini has a quota of 69 000 tonnes of sugar per year and it has managed to supply 68 959 tonnes yearly, followed by Zambia with 41 152 tonnes and Mauritius with 36 036 tonnes.

The Eswatini Sugar Association (ESA) has revealed that Eswatini has been declared an efficient and reliable supplier in the COMESA regional block.

ESA Chief Executive Officer Dr Phil Mnisi said as a long-term strategy, Eswatini was also looking at penetration the Zimbabwe, DRC and Rwanda markets.

He said this move would enable the country to double its revenue generated for sugar in the next 10 years.

“The COMESA market provides better returns than other markets outside the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the European Union (EU),” he said.

COMESA has also listed Eswatini among the eight countries in the region to have maintained their grip in sugar production with most of the raw produce being exported to the European Union, United States of America and China.

“The COMESA bloc is a net exporter, with close to 45 percent of the total African exports. The sugar net-exporting COMESA Member States are Malawi, Mauritius, Eswatini, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) Seed Development Expert Dr John Mukuka reportedly said.

It was revealed that Africa accounts for six per cent of the global total sugar production with COMESA Member States accounting for 52 per cent percent.

In the 2020/2021 financial year ESA has been able to generate US$38.25 million, which indicates an increase by 2.7 per cent from the previous year’s US$368.75 million.

Eswatini is the fourth largest sugar producer in Africa and the 25th largest producer in the world.

Despite previous predictions of a decrease by two percent to 650 000 metric tonnes in the 2020/21 marketing year from 660,000 metric in the 2019/20, the industry has managed to satisfy its external markets.

The prediction was informed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on demand and the global supply chain, and interventions by the South African industry to minimize imports.

“The 2019/20 exports were revised downwards due to lower than expected sales to the European Union (EU) and East Africa (Kenya), and the pace of exports up to February 2020. South Africa is the leading market for Eswatini sugar exports and accounted for 53 percent of the total exports in the 2019/20, followed by Europe (33 percent), Kenya (10 percent), and United States (three percent),” a report by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The country’s sugar imports are minimal due to the large available sugar stocks, and high production relative to the low national consumption.

“Eswatini imports are mainly from South Africa and are less than 1,000 metric tonnes per marketing year,” the report states.

A table showing the Kenya sugar quota allocation

COUNTRYQUOTA IN TONNES
Eswatini68 959.01
Zambia41 152.33
Mauritius36 036.78
Uganda18 923.63
Malawi17 824.58
Zimbabwe8 723.05
Egypt7 875.55
Ethiopia2 833.77
Madagascar1 549.22
Other countries2 212.67
TOTAL210 163.09

Bonisile Makhubu

Bonisile Makhubu is a senior journalist at The Times of Swaziland Group of Newspapers, a company she has worked for over a period of 15 years now. She is based in the Eswatini News department which publishes the Saturday paper. She is also assistant Eswatini News Editor. In this department, she also ran the consumer watch column which focuses on consumer issues. Her specialty is investigative writing and reporting on health, education, women, and children’s issues, even though she has previously worked for the community news department and daily news department where she reported on courts, crime, and general news. She currently holds a Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Eswatini and has attended a series of training programs on investigative journalism, reporting for SADC, and digital and online reporting. I have covered four SADC summits throughout the region. I have also traveled for short training and assignments in countries such as the US, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa while carrying out my duty as a journalist. Bing a mother of three children has also motivated her to remain dedicated to being the voice of the voiceless and to hold the public accountable and present truthful and educational information to the readers at all times.

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