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Horticulture Input Subsidy

Horticulture Input Subsidy

The National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBoard) is a government of Eswatini business enterprise under the Ministry of Agriculture established through an act of parliament referred to as the NAMBoard Act No. 13 of 1985. Its core mandate is to regulate the importation and exportation of scheduled agricultural products as well to facilitate development and production of such produce in the country. The mandate is further entrenched in NAMBoard’s vision “To promote a financially sustainable farming community that contributes significantly to food security and to the economy of Eswatini”.

The horticulture sector is full of small-scale vegetable farmers with most of them farming on areas less than 1 hectare. The costs of production make it expensive to produce on medium to large areas. During the past 2 years we have seen the area under production decreasing further with the advent of Covid-19, compounded by the recent invasion of Russia on Ukraine. These calamities have resulted into a significant increase of farming input prices which has doubled from the prices of last season. Some farmers have reduced their production area to what they can afford to provide as inputs while some farmers have completely abandoned production. In worse cases, some farmers have resorted to reduce the recommended input quantities but still apply in the same size of production area. This has resulted to drastic decline in yields.

On the 29th July 2022 NAMBoard in conjunction with the Smallholder Market-Led Project hosted a Horticulture Innovation platform to discuss survival strategies in the mist of costly and scarce farming inputs. The choice of the Page 2 of 7 topic was influenced by the high input cost which have been experienced from the summer of 2021 up to date. This was a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine invasion which has made it difficult to access farming inputs and fertiliser in particular. One of the outcomes of the workshop was an expressed need for establishment of a subsidy program for horticulture farmers, this was endorsed by the Minister of Agriculture. NAMBoard has taken it upon herself to implement the Horticulture Input subsidy which is in line with her mandate under the Farmer Support and Development Programme. This initiative was not new to NAMBoard as it is provided for in the current strategic plan as part of the access to funding initiatives which were set to be achieved in the short to medium term. Therefore, the call for this program by the workshop was only a wake-up call by the farmers.  


The key strategic objectives are as follows: a) Subsidise farming inputs (fertiliser, agrochemicals & planting material) by 40% to increase the profitability of farmers.
b) Reduce dependency on imports for strategic vegetables that are currently imported in large quantities.
c) Increase export volumes for selected baby vegetables that have a market outside of Eswatini.
d) Continue with the input subsidy program for the next 5 years to stimulate local production until farmers have established major infrastructure to improve operational efficiency.

Eligible Commodities
For a start the facility would be aiming at promoting specific commodities with a view to substitute importation as well as promoting exports. Consequently, Five (5) commodities have been selected from the five (5) mostly imported horticulture commodities as well as from the five (5) mostly exported baby vegetables. The selected commodities as follows:
Top 5 Imported Commodities i) Potatoes
ii) Onions
iii) Carrots
iv) Tomatoes
v) Beetroots
To 5 Exported Commodities i) Green Beans
ii) Peas (MGT & Sugar Snap)
iii) Baby Corn
iv) Chillies (furry)
v) Baby Marrows

The Facility

NAMBoard has a budget of Emalangeni Three Million (E3,000,000.00) for establishment of a Revolving Fund. An amount of Emalangeni One Million (E1,000,000.00) shall be split from the Revolving Fund budget to develop the input subsidy facility in the first year. This amount shall be deposited into a NAMBoard account to be opened with a partner bank. This is a bank who must agree to NAMBoard terms and conditions for the establishment of the input facility. Qualifying farmers will also deposit in the same account an amount equivalent to the agreed amount required. To increase reach of the facility, NAMBoard will mobilize other development partners and private entities to contribute towards establishment of the fund. The target is to raise at least Ten Million Emalangeni (E10,000.000) to make a meaningful impact.

The Input Subsidy Facility will cover 40% of the total input costs while the farmers would also contribute the remaining 60%. Farmers with a minimum of 1.0 ha of land up to 5ha will be eligible to qualify for the facility. Upon depositing their contribution into the account, farmers will then present their proof of payments to NAMBoard who shall then issue a purchase voucher which shall be redeemable in selected input suppliers. A list of farming inputs will be developed for each of the commodities to be selected. From this list the total costs will be computed where the value of the inputs to be contributed by the facility and the farmer alike would be established.