By Phiwa Sikhondze
His Excellency the Prime Minister, Russell Dlamini has urged emaSwati to prioritize agriculture for both subsistence and commercial purposes.
Dlamini said that the country suffers from poor economic performance, hence the high poverty rate, and the youth struggling to get employment opportunities.
He said that by growing the economy, the country can successfully eliminate the socio-economic challenges it faces.
The PM disclosed this during a one on one interview with Eswatini TV last week.
“I think growing the economy is principal to resolving the challenges that we have. Once the issue of economic growth has been resolved the government will be able to do everything that needs to be done such as paying scholarships and improving the health system, amongst many things,” he said.
When asked what the country needs to do to ensure that the economy grows, the PM said the first thing is to prioritize key sectors, as doing everything at once would not yield positive results. He gave an example of having E100 and deciding to focus on two things instead of 10 things and said that the country can do more with E50 on each thing. He said that this is the approach that he advocates for when looking at and making use of the available opportunities in the country.
He identified agriculture as one of the main sectors that the country can exploit, given the favorable climate, the land, and the people’s skills. He said that the country should aim to achieve food security, food sovereignty, and export potential through agriculture.
“For now we do not have food sovereignty in the country we are at the lowest in terms of food sovereignty. If borders could close for two weeks we would go hungry. We import maize and other basic needs. That means we are dependent on neighbours for food. If you have no food sovereignty our sovereignty is seriously threatened and the government needs to focus on that because our population is quite small,” Dlamini said.
The Premier further advised emaSwati to utilize technology in their agricultural endeavours, as it would optimize output, especially with the challenges brought by climate change.