Mbabane: A total of 123 Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have received business deals worth E300 million from Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development (ESWADE). This has a multiplier effect on the economy & bodes well for agriculture.
This was revealed by Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini during his tour to Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) on Friday. Dlamini said such projects have a combined benefit to the economy which is estimated at 72% for the agriculture GDP and 17% of national GDP.
LUSIP is a Government wealth creation initiative aimed at benefitting thousands of Emaswati in rural communities to transform to commercial farming. The LUSIP project is implemented through the Eswatini Water & Agricultural Development Enterprise (ESWADE) & also provides communities with potable water schemes. LUSIP farmers are involved in various projects including vegetable tunnel production, as well as the farming of banana & green beans. Irrigation of these crops which cover 11 500 hectares is supported by the 155 million cubic metres capacity Lubovane Reservoir.
Another major project by ESWADE is the LUSIP II extension which is a continuation of the Lower Usuthu Small Holder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) whose goal is to improve the standard of living of the population in the Project Area through an environmentally and culturally sustainable process.
The objectives of LUSIP II Extension are:
- To integrate smallholder farmers into the commercial economy through the establishment of farmer-managed irrigation companies.
- To increase efficiencies in the sugar cane value chains.
- To strengthen bulk water administration and infrastructure maintenance.
- To improve the quality of life for people living within the PDA.
- To attain efficient project coordination and management.
LUSIP II Extension Project is being implemented in two stages. Stage 1 of the development will command an irrigable area of 5,750 hectares (ha). Of this area 5,217 ha is new development. The balance of the area has already been developed but will in the future receive water via the canal system to enable the users to cut down on pumping costs as the area is currently being irrigated from the Usuthu River.
The LUSIP II extension project will comprise of six components:
- Development of the main canal conveyance system to deliver water to the Matata area.
- Construction of a tertiary dam system;
- Farmland development on 7300 ha.
- Farmer training,
- Environmental mitigation and
- Project management.
The whole project will cost an estimated SZL 2, 099 billion.