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Malkerns – An opportunity has presented itself for the Eswatini sugar industry to expand their market base by hiking sugar exports to Nigeria.
For the hike to be attainable, experts said it was imperative for investors, financiers, cane growers and processors to contribute immensely to the industry.

Nigeria’s estimated national demand for refined sugar is about 1.6 million metric tonnes per annum. Conversely, the current level of production of cane to sugar in Nigeria is less than two per cent of the demand, while there is over two million metric tonnes refining capacity in the country.
Nigeria needs about 1.4 million metric tonnes of sugar and has approached Eswatini to increase its exports to the country.


“There is therefore huge potential for investment in sugar production from sugar cane in the long-term as well as supply of raw sugar for refining in the immediate to short-terms,” said Nigeria’s Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Mariam Yalwaji Katagum. This was during her meeting with the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo at Summerfield Botanical Gardens yesterday. Also present was Royal Eswatini Sugar Corporation Limited (Rescorp) Managing Director Nick Jackson. Katagum said Nigeria was currently implementing a National Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).

She said it was a 10-year development plan with the primary aim of achieving self-sufficiency in domestic production of refined sugar from sugar cane. “The plan was launched in 2014 and it is being revised to transit into the second NSMP,” she added.
Katagum also mentioned that it was therefore expected that they provide an opportunity for Eswatini to establish a platform for a strong trading link that would boost industrialisation, production capacity and investment promotion between Nigeria and Eswatini, especially in the sugar industry.


“I am convinced that the cooperation in trade is essential to achieving maximum development in our respective countries,” she said. The Nigerian minister further mentioned that Nigeria’s investment in Rescorp dates back to 1977. At that time, the involvement of Nigeria in Rescorp was to support the economic development of Eswatini. Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Khumalo added that the investment partnership in the sugar sector between the two countries had yielded great results for the country in terms of employment generation, particularly for the marginalised rural population with about 10 000 to 15 000 seasonally employed, and approximately 4 500 being directly employed in this sector. Khumalo said the partnership had also played a key role in economic growth and trade with the massive downstream industries that have been established.


“Our Trade with Nigeria for the past three and a half years stands at about US$300 million in terms of Total Exports with concentrates, sugar and gum being our three top export products and for the total imports our trade stands at US$ 177 000 during the same period with vaccines being the major import product, particularly for the year 2021,” he said. In the area of trade in services, the minister added that Eswatini hoped to strengthen trade relations, particularly for the recreational, cultural and sporting services, which is considered as cultural and creative industries, where we see a greater opportunity in creating employment particularly for the youth was seen.

He said the country considered the whole services sector as an avenue for export diversification; an input into the production of both goods and services and as a significant contributor to inclusive growth, employment and poverty alleviation. Rescorp MD Jackson said they were still to discuss how they would continue to expand their exports to Nigeria.

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