Eswatini Daily News

Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko

As a result of the Russia/Ukraine war, the price of fertiliser increased by a staggering 178 per cent in 2022 and together with other inputs, is estimated to have subsequently increased production costs for farmers by another staggering 118 per cent compared to 2021 prices.

This escalation in prices has become a deterrent for most SNL farmers which will potentially affect maize output and likely threaten domestic food security.

This observation was made by the Minister of Economic Planning and Development Tambo Gina at a Seminar hosted by the Economics Association of Eswatini (ECAS) at the Mountain View International
Hotel in Mbabane. The Minister was represented by the Chief Economist, Sifiso Mamba.

The seminar was aimed at facilitating a discussion of the economic shocks resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war and brought together stakeholders involved in the country’s development.

He said in terms of the policy response by the government, following the events, the government was obliged to respond to the situation despite the limited fiscal space to cushion the economy, businesses, and citizens against the shocks.

“At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, several response measures were pursued by the government and also supported by a number of development partners to which we are greatly indebted. The focus was on strengthening the national health system, to save lives, hence the increase in health expenditures in the period, as well as protecting livelihoods. Policies aimed at cushioning the economy were also implemented including fiscal-related as well as monetary policies. Pursuant to the Russia/Ukraine induced price hike, the government among other policy measures secured budget support to cushion farmers in the current planting season which is 2022/23,” he said.

The minister said through this support, the government reviewed the farm subsidy from the previous 50 per cent to 65 per cent of maize production costs in the process benefitting more than 15 000 farmers.

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