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About Us

Government's responsibility in the Agricultural sector lies primarily within the Ministry of Agriculture. The obligation of the Ministry of Agriculture is to ensure household food security and increased sustainable agricultural productivity through dlversification and enhancement of commercial agricultural activities.  The Ministry is also responsible for the development and promotion of appropriate technologies and efficient extension services while ensuring stakeholder participation and sustainable development and management of natural resources in the country.

The agriculture sector plays a significant role in the country's development and is undeniably one of the leading sectors with regard to the extent to its contribution to the economy's GDP. There is, therefore, no doubt that agriculture constitutes a major force in the determination of the country's medium to long term growth prospects.


VISION STATEMENT
To achieve and maintain an efficient and sustainable agricultural sector that will ensure national and household food security and a sustainable growth of Swaziland’s agriculture and national economy with equitable wealth distribution throughout the value chain.

MISSON STATEMENT:

To transform Swaziland's agricultural production system from its prevailing subsistence mode to more commercially oriented production systems through commercialisation and the diversification of small and medium (S&M) holder SNL and TDL agricultural production within the next four to five years


BACKGROUND ON THE AGRICULTURE OF SWAZILAND

The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small landlocked country located in southern Africa and bordered by Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. Swaziland has a total land area of 17364 square kilometres and a population of 980,722 (Census, 1997) with an annual growth rate of 2.9%. Only 11% of the land area is arable.

There are two major types of land ownerships. There is Swazi Nation Land (SNL) and Title Deed Land (TDL). Swazi Nation Land is communal and is held in trust for the nation by the King through Chiefs who allocate usufruct rights to individual Swazi families. Agriculture on the SNL is basically subsistence in nature. The Title Deed Land includes commercial farms, estates and ranches that are freehold or on concession agreements. Agriculture on the TDL is mainly commercial.

The country is divided into four agro-ecological zones, which run longitudinally North to South. Located west to east is the Highveld, the Middleveld which is further divided into wet and dry Middleveld due to the amount of precipitation received by the sub-zones: then there is the Lowveld and Lubombo Plateau to the extreme east of the country.
The Highveld has a land area covering about 5 029.5 square kilometres and lies along the western border of the country. It has an average elevation of between 910 and 1830 metres above sea level (asl) and is characterised by a humid to near temperate climate. The type of climate is conducive for the growing of a variety of crops and higher yield are usually obtained due to the high rainfall and moderate temperatures. The major constraint to increased productivity is excessive leaching of nutrients, high soil acidity and low soil fertility.  Maize grown in as a monocrop (cropping system) is the dominant crop.  Other crops that can be grown include sweetpotato and variety of legumes. The Highveld provides good quality grazing during summer, but during winter it is very low in feed value. As a result, livestock require supplementation for about 4 - 6 months to avoid severe weight losses. 
The Middleveld climate is sub-tropical with a rainfall average of between 762 and 1 193 mm per annum, of which between 610 and 994 mm falls during summer. The soils are deep and mostly red clay to clay loamy soils characterized by low soil fertility, high soil acidity and deficiencies in molybdenum. The Middleveld climate is suited for the production of a variety of agricultural crops including maize (Zea mays L.), beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), and cowpeas [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp], groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea L.), pineapples (Ananas sativa), sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L.). The drought tolerant crops such as cassava (Mannihot esculenta L.) sorghum [Sorghum bicolour (L.)  Moench] and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) are recommended for the dry Middleveld. Maize is main monocropped. The Middleveld is characterised by a mixed veld i.e it is intermediate between palatable and unpalatable grass species. Livestock require supplementation for 3 - 4 months in winter in order to prevent severe weight loss. 
The    Lowveld has a land area of about 6 416.2 square kilometres and is gently undulating, with an altitude range of between 60 and 730 m above sea level. The annual rainfall is between 508 and 890 mm. The Lowveld is semi-arid to arid climate which is very prone to drought. The soils in this region  range from the red soil found in the Middleveld to the deep , very fertile black vertisols, that crap heavily  when dry and are very sticky  when wet. Saline soils and saline sodic soils, which are characterised by high soluble salts of sodium (Na+) and sulphate SO- are very common in this region. The most grown crops in the Lowveld are the drought-tolerant crops such as cotton, citrus (Citrus lanatus) and sugarcane (Saccharum officinarium L.) grown under irrigation. The Lowveld has sweet grass species. These grasses are mostly palatable and nutritious in summer, they remain fairly palatable even in winter. Consequently, they can support livestock throughout the year without the need for supplements, provided it is not overstocked.   
The Lubombo plateau has a climate almost similar to the Middleveld and covers a land area of about 1 321.2 km2 and have an average altitude of 700 m ASL. It lies to the extreme east of the country along the border with Mozambique. The soils are deep red and medium to heavy texture. The main crops grown in the region include maize, a number of grain food legumes sorghum, sweet potato, cassava and cotton.     

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