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«S&T RESEARCH/INNOVATION IN SWAZILAND Lydia Makhubu, 1998 Compedium - SWAZILAND LYDIA MAKHUBU University of Swaziland SWAZILAND* Country Brief on Food ...»

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Lydia Makhubu, 1998

Compedium - SWAZILAND


University of Swaziland


Country Brief on Food Security and Sustainable Development

Swaziland is a small land-locked country of nearly 17,400 km in size with a population of

900,000 in 1997. It is surrounded in the north, west and south by South Africa and on the east by


Of the total land area, 9% is cropped, 65% is pastures and 14% is covered by commercial forests. It has six agro-ecological zones the highveld, the upper and middleveld, the eastern and western lowveld and the Lubombo Plateau, which range from 400 - 1800 metres above sea level, each with distinct physical characteristics and climate. The diverse ecology has provided for an equally diverse agriculture-based economy in both the subsistence and formal sectors.

Whereas agriculture dominated Swaziland's economy in the 1970's expansion in manufacturing has assumed a more dominant role in recent years. By 1990 agriculture had fallen to 14% of GDP from 32% in 1970 while industry accounted for 39% up from 28%. This is said to be as a result of stagnation in the growth of agro-industry and depressed market conditions. In 1980 sugar, wood and pulp, citrus and other fruit accounted for 71% of exports, a proportion that had fallen to 49% in 1990.

In spite of the stagnation in the growth of agro-industry, agriculture still plays an important role in the country's economy with the sector divided into Swazi Nation Land (SNL) which is semi- subsistent and Title Deed Land (TDL) on which large scale commercial farming takes place. Maize is the major crop on SNL, with cotton and tobacco produced on a limited scale. Sugar, citrus, pineapples, cotton, maize and cattle breeding are the major enterprises on TDL. The average yield of the main crops are: sugar, 105t/ha, pineapples, 45t/ha, maize 1.4t/ha, beans, 0.74t/ha, citrus

29.73t/ha, cabbage 14.7t/ha with capita food production at 83 in 1993/94.

Source: National Development Strategy Document and its Sectoral papers. 1997 Livestock is of great social and economic importance accounting for 5% of GDP with stock production per capita at 77 in 1993/94. On SNL livestock owners obtain milk, manure and draft power from their animals whereas in TDL, animals are for market sales.

Agricultural research is carried out at the Malkerns Research Station of the Ministry of Agriculture and at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Swaziland. These are the only institutions of their kind in the country. In addition, there are 3 other technical institutions, the Gwamile Vocational Institution, the Swaziland College of Technology and the Manzini Industrial Training Centre which produce technical cadres at various levels. Due to lack of proper records the ratio of scientists, engineers and technologists is estimated to be 1 per 1000 of population.

The main sources of fuel and energy are: electricity (7%) coal (6%) fuel wood, biomass and

other renewable sources (6%) and petroleum products (18%). The consumption is as follows:

industry (41%), households (35%), transport (19%), agriculture (3%), commerce and services (2%).

The telecommunications network is a clear example in which public demand for technological infrastructure has grown tremendously in the past few years, at present the telephone density per 1000 of population is about 30.

The environment is a major concern because of the industries that discharge effluent into rivers, our pollution and agricultural land mismanagement. For this reason the Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) was established in 1992 to coordinate environmental issues and the promulgate regulations to govern environmental management. The SEA has prepared a National Environmental Action Plan and a national biodiversity strategy.

The following chapters give highlights of some research in agriculture and the environment which is believed to be relevant to the provision of a base for increased food production and food security in Swaziland.

It must be noted that the references are to be found in the original papers which can be obtained from the contact persons indicated at the end of each chapter.

Chapter 1: Maize Stover and Poultry Manure as Feed for Growing Cattle Background and Problem Specification Cattle are an important social and economic commodity in Swaziland, bred under a traditional agro-pastoral husbandry system using native Nguni types on Swazi Nation Land (SNL). Cattle productivity under the traditional system is low due to acute feed shortages. On government breeding ranches pre-weaning and post-weaning growth rates of 427g/day and 371g/day have been reported for Nguni Cattle. Data on the performance of these cattle on SNL is not available but it would be expected to be much lower. With good feeding, it is possible to achieve growth rates of up to 700g/day or more from these cattle. Nutrition is a primary limitation on SNL and yet there exist in Swaziland feed resources that are unused or poorly utilized and which could make a major impact on ruminant livestock production.

Crop production gives rise to considerable amounts of agricultural wastes and by-products that ruminants can convert into highly nutritious products. A number of reasons, including human population pressure on the land, scarcity and high cost of concentrate feeds, frequent drought, scarcity of resources, justify increased use of non-conventional feed sources for ruminant animal feeding. The specific objective of this work was to compare poultry manure and urea as nitrogen supplements to maize stover as a means of promoting the use of a lower cost nitrogen supplement.

The long-term aim is to develop low-cost feeding systems in Swaziland to match ruminant livestock production with available resources.

The review of literature by the scientists indicates that similar experiment have been reported by other workers. The importance of the work lies in the fact that it is being applied in Swaziland where both maize stover and poultry manure are abundant and the Nguni cattle are traditionally bred on SNL. Both ingredients are low cost and with proper extension work, this procedure could be a distinct advantage to SNL farmers. The tests are conducted on the University Farm where animal and crop production are major semi-commercial enterprises.

Lead Institutions The Department of Animal Production and Health in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Swaziland is the lead research institution.

Contact Persons

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Background This write-up covers the use of kraal manure (cattle manure) and green manure as low cost organic fertilizers for in particular, small-scale subsistence farmers who face the problems of the high cost fertilizer and depletion of soil fertility in small farm holdings. Because of the dominance of cattle production on Swazi Nation Land, kraal manure is an important organic fertilizer for maize, beans and vegetable production. In 1995, there were over 642,000 herd of cattle in Swaziland (against a human population of 900,000) producing considerable amounts of manure that is used to supplement inorganic fertilizers for maize, bean and vegetable production. The method of application varies from farmer to farmer and with the amount of manure available. The adverse effects of drought have reduced biomass for grazing and by implication, the amount of kraal manure available for crop production. Due to climate differences in the different agro-econological zones there are also differences in the nutritional content of the vegetation which would in turn affect the nutritional quality of kraal manure and on the crops produced. It is thus important to devise ways for the most efficient application of manure to boost crop production.

In addition to using kraal manure small scale farmers generally bury fresh weeds as green manure crop for the production of short duration crops such as Phaseolis beans and sweet potatoes (Ipomea batatas), However the nutritional content of weeds is low, and ways to improve their quality by sowing sunhemp (Crotalaria junncea) a legume crop in fields intended for beans and sweet potatoes has been tried.

The increase in human population pressure and the advent of inorganic fertilizers from fossil fuel reduced the reliance on organic manures. But most recently there has been renewed interest in the use of organic manures because of the rising costs and the polluting effects of inorganic fertilizers.

The surge in interest is illustrated by the research in alley cropping at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, the establishment of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya and the international symposium of the role of green manure crops in rice farming systems, conservation farming, reviews and workshops.

Kraal manure has been used as an organic fertilizer for generations in Swaziland, but repeated cultivation of soils and the inability of farmers to allow fields to lie fallow due to population pressure demands low cost processes to enhance soil fertility. Methods of applying manure which included broadcasting, banding and dollop (spot application) were tried. The test crops were maize and beans. The dollop method gave the highest yields. That the nutritional quality of manure has been found to be dependent upon the agro-ecological zone. This is an important consideration in cropproduction in the different agro-ecological zones, especially for those small farmers who use only kraal manure as fertilizer.

The up-surge of interest in green manure is an important trend in terms of cost and a welcome development in environment management.

–  –  –

Background Fermented dairy products are considered to possess antibutrification factors for the digestive tract and to confer a variety of important nutritional and therapentic benefits to consumers. Of particular interest is the study which found that fermented milk was protective against colon cancer.

Fermented milk (emasi) is a very popular, traditional food, consumed by people of all ages and both sexes as a complete meal in Swaziland.

Although milk products are a well-known sources of nutrients they lack iron but such products can be fortified to increase their dietary nutritional quality. Some fortification trials have been performed in Cheddar and processed cheeses and in yoghurt and soft cheeses.

Whey proteins are of high biological quality rich in the essential amino acids, cystine and glutamic acid. They are easy to digest and are useful in chronic bile and pancreatic problems where they exhibit a choleretic property and normalize exocrine functions of the pancreas. Whey protein concentrate can be recommended as a therapentic agent or as an additive to products for dietary therapy in the combined treatment of chronic diseases of the biliary system especially in the case of concomitant diseases of the stomach and pancreas. They also are helpful in avoiding diarrhoea and constipation, resulting from using antibiotics, and are important in protecting the intestine from cancer. The presence of intact lactose in emasi may cause alarm in those who are suffering from lactose intolerance.

The major process was producing emasi with high nutritional and therapeutic value by increasing its dry matter especially proteins, decreasing the lactose content to overcome its intolerance by consumers and fortifying it with iron to be used as prescription for iron-deficiency, anaemia. Supplementing emasi with whey protein concentrate obtained from dairy products makes emasi a good prescription for children who are suffering from kwashiorkor, and others suffering from chronic bile and pancreatic diseases.

–  –  –

Chapter 4: Women's Creation and Use nf Rural Technology in Swaziland Background Technology has, for a long time, been considered a primary mechanism for promoting socioeconomic development. Governments, NGO's and the donor community have been in the forefront of the promotion of social and economic emancipation through the application of science and technology. In most developing countries, the rural sector stands out as a vital point for development initiatives. This is because the majority of people reside in rurual areas. In almost all these countries agriculture is considered the backbone of the economy and the only reliable source of livelihood for the majority of the population. Swaziland is no exception as the population is predominantly rural and occupies 60% of the total land area constituting Swazi Nation Land. Thus Swaziland has been described as one of the least urbanized countries, with a high rural-urban interaction which is facilitated by the small geographical area and a relatively good communications network.

In Swaziland, most of the agricultural activities are performed by women since about 60% of male homestead members are absent, working either in the urban and industrial estates or in South Africa. The consequence of this is the predominance of female-headed households, estimated at 28%.

The increasing trend of women performing tasks that would otherwise be carried out by man has led to the argument that the majority of Swazi women are "fully employed" in the home and it is estimated that the women and children contribute 70% of agricultural labour. This observation is consistent with the description of Africa as the region of female farming. Given that women in Swaziland play a key role in the rural economy, it is necessary that benevolent efforts intended to enhance rural development through the adoption and application of rural technology are targeted to them as well. This is more so because women in Africa are already so overburdened and require technology to rationalize their workload.

Technology employed in food production include structures1 material and equipment of various kinds, targetting the numerous processes involved in clearing, ploughing, harrowing, ridging to transporting the maize and other products and storage.

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