The Eswatini Sugar Association Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Banele Nyamame says they remain committed to exporting in markets where they have preferential market access.

The CEO disclosed this during a media briefing yesterday where the company officially accepted the three awards they won last week Friday at the Eswatini Exporter Awards.

ESA was awarded the Overall Best Global Exporter 2023, beating the likes of Montigny Investments and TQM. They also came top in the European Union (EU) under the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) category.

Their third award came in the Best Exporter to the Rest of the World category, where they also emerged as number one.

When making his remarks Nyamane said they were honoured to be recognized in the country for the work they do. He stated that they aim to surpass the 180,000 metric tonnes that they exported in the previous financial year.

“We have stated previously that the production we exported last year, was not the highest, our peak export was 260 000 metric tonnes which is the volume we aim to surpass. We are, however, highly optimistic that within the next 2-3 years our export volumes will pick up significantly.”

When asked by members of the media about possible new markets that can be explored by the company, Nyamane stated that as it stands most of their revenue still comes from their preferential markets, as a result, they will focus heavily on those markets.

“As it stands, 99% of our exports are targeted to our preferential markets. However, what we have been doing strategically is embarking on a process of exporting small quantities to markets where we do not have market preferences. Our projections indicate that in the long run, the preferential markets we operate in will also be crowded. Thus, it is important that when that time comes, we are ready and understand the dynamics of those markets.”

Worth noting is that Eswatini sugar is sold in four markets – the domestic (SACU) market, the EU, the US, and the regional markets. Sugar sold in SACU is protected by the common external tariff within the customs union.

Market access to the EU is accorded through the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, which offers duty-free quota-free access for Eswatini sugar into the EU market.

The volumes of sugar sold to the US are through a tariff rate quota (TRQ) under the Generalized System of Preferences, a system that promotes economic development by eliminating duties on a wide range of products from selected 120 beneficiary countries. (Information sourced from the ESA website).

Nyamane further disclosed that they are in conversation with strategic partners across the African continent regarding taking full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA).

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