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
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