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MBABANE – It seems the saying that ‘one man’s misfortune is another’s luck’ fits perfectly in the NMC – NAMBoard saga.

NMC is an acronym for National Maize Corporation and NAMBoard is short for National Agriculture Marketing Board.
While NMC is reported to be frustrated by NAMBoard not granting it import permits to source maize from neighbouring South Africa but instead granting them to private maize millers to import the stable food, local consumers said this would work to their advantage. This was said by the Swaziland Consumer Forum Chairperson Mandla Ntshakala in an interview yesterday.

Ntshakala said consumers supported competition as it opened room for choice. He discouraged monopoly and said it did not serve consumers and encouraged competition.
He said consumers would now choose where to buy maize and not depend on one entity to import maize. He predicted that maize prices would decrease and therefore be affordable to consumers.
“As consumers, we are very happy about competition, we want our government and relevant institutions to be involved in removing monopoly in every sector,” Ntshakala said.

He expressed concern about local farmers whom he said should be visible. He said now that more industry players would import maize from the neighbouring country, local farmers had to adjust their prices. He shared his experience that in Swaziland, commodities were in most cases expensive because they were monopolised and not because of trying to cover production costs.
Some predictions point to that there might be a looming food crisis in the country due to the differences between the two organisations. Ntshakala contested reports a looming food crisis and said the Southern African Region had been in far worse situations.

In 2015, the region was hit by a severe drought that left many without food while thousands of cattle died. The chairperson opined that the problem with locals was they did not utilise soil.
Ntshakala said people were more concerned with developing land by giving it away through kukhonta even where it was unnecessary. He opined that there were areas that were ideal for agricultural purposes like the stretch from Malkerns to Ezulwini.

“We should, as Swazis, look at the way we utilise our land,” Ntshakala advised.

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