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MBABANE – It is final. plans to introduce a 40 per cent levy on imported dairy products from today have been put on hold until further notice.

The Eswatini Dairy Board (EDB) had proposed that the import levy be charged on all dairy products which are sufficiently produced locally, such as emasi (sour milk), yoghurt, fresh milk and fresh cream.

The levy was supposed to kick in today but there were reportedly registered concerns from some of the stakeholders who felt the timing could be bad due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Confirming the postponement, Dairy Board CEO Dr Tony Dlamini said the sector, on its own, had not been left unscathed by the devastating financial implications of the economic downturn.

“The Board has to assume its mandate and responsibility to ensure an enabling environment for all dairy industry stakeholders even during circumstances of this nature.

“It is for this reason that the Board takes this opportunity to notify all stakeholders that the proposed dairy import levy review scheduled for July 1, 2020 has been suspended until further notice,” Dlamini said.
The Board, however, urged farmers to support the local industry. 

In an earlier correspondence Dlamini had sent to stakeholders on February 26, 2020, he explained that the country’s dairy industry had realised remarkable improvements in its value chain, particularly in milk production and processing.


However, he said the industry was still at an infancy stage and needed protection against competitive pressure from mature and developed economies.
He said it was on this basis that the Board sought to use one tool of protecting an infant industry by invoking Section 25 of the Dairy Act, which proposes a levy review for all imported dairy products.

For all other dairy products that are not sufficiently produced in the country, they will be charged at 13 per cent on the invoice value.  
Meanwhile, in the February correspondence, Dlamini urged importers to help support the local dairy industry by making use of local processes by engaging them with specifics of their brands to produce and pack for them as opposed to importing products which can be sourced in the country, thus developing the dairy industry.

He gave the board’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for all dairy stakeholders in order to promote industry interaction and to further uplift the economic position of the country.
This publication recently reported that there was an increase in locally-manufactured dairy products in the past year.


Volumes of dairy products produced locally that include pasteurised milk, dairy blend juice and yoghurt and fresh cream, increased in 2019 compared to 2018. 
For pasteurised milk, the volume increased from 195 513 to 236 852 litres. Over 1.8 million litres of yoghurt were produced in 2019.  It was an increase from the about 1.5 million litres produced the previous year.

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