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MATSAPHA – In a bid to see animal feed producers in the country contributing in the economic growth of the Kingdom of Eswatini, NAMBoard has proposed to introduce four per cent levy on imported items.

The National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Siphephiso Dlamini revealed the proposal to farmers and millers during their stakeholder meeting which was held at Esibayeni Lodge yesterday morning.

The CEO said their purpose was to develop the whole value chain in the industry but in the process, they had discovered a gap since farmers were consuming from millers who were importing animal feed from other countries yet there were people producing it locally.
“There are producers of yellow maize and emabele (sorghum) in Eswatini and they feel they face unfair competition from their counterparts from other countries as millers import the product from them,” he said.

He said this created a gap in the value chain and as an agent for the producers, farmers and millers, they were proposing that a levy of four per cent on all imported animal feed be introduced in order to encourage millers to buy from local producers.
The CEO said this would also encourage local producers to produce even more in order to meet the demand in the market.

“In that way, more producers could join the industry and create more jobs in the process, which will result in economic development,” Dlamini said.
He said their intentions as NAMBoard was to encourage economic growth by encouraging local agricultural production.
After making the proposal, the CEO said the proposed levy would be a win-win situation for all as producers’ products would be absorbed in the market and farmers would get animal feed from millers consistently.

He emphasised that the levy was meant to encourage millers to buy from local producers in order to empower the economy of the country. He said currently, millers used about 60 000 tonnes of yellow maize to produce animal feed annually and its estimated figure was about E120m.

“This money goes to producers out of the country since millers import yellow maize and sorghum from other countries.”
He said if they could purchase it from local producers, the E120m would benefit emaSwati who produce yellow maize and sorghum. He said the levy would ensure that the producers produced knowing that millers would buy from them.

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