Swaziland Market Assessment Report - December 2016


Executive summary

  • Southern Africa experienced an unprecedented El Niño phenomenon affecting the region with two consecutive years of drought and erratic rains. The year 2015 was the hottest and driest year on record (in over a century) for South Africa and 2016 is set top this record. With numerous member countries affected by drought1 , SADC announced a regional state of emergency, requesting US $2.4 billion to address the effects of the crisis.

  • The unfavorable climatic conditions have triggered a second year of heightened food insecurity levels in the region. Southern Africa’s 2014-15 harvest had a 7.9 million tonnes cereal deficit while the 2015-16 cereal deficit was estimated at 6.4million tonnes, forcing the region to import food to meet national food requirements.

  • Multiple countries in the region depend on South Africa for their food security. Grain SA (an association of South African grain farmers) estimates that the Southern African Customs Union (Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland) will have to depend on South Africa for their food security. Grain SA estimated that South Africa was to export 810,000MT to SACU nations to support their food security needs for the 2016-17 marketing season.

  • A SwaziVAC Assessment conducted in May 2016 found the estimated total number of food insecure people in Swaziland to have increased to 638,251 people from 320,973 in July 2015 (an increase of 99 per cent).

  • Swaziland has averaged an annual cereal production of 92,000 tonnes since 2011. Even in exceptionally good harvest years, Swaziland only produces enough to meet roughly 45 per cent (110,250 tonnes) of its annual total cereal requirements (approximately 245,000 tonnes).

  • Swaziland produced 34,000 tonnes for the 2016-17 marketing season, down from 94,000 tonnes in 2015-16 (-64 per cent) and down from the five year average (2011-2015) of 92,000 tonnes (-63 per cent)2 . In terms of national requirements, Swaziland has produced only 20 per cent of its national cereal requirement for the 2016-17 marketing season. The remaining 80 per cent (197,000 tonnes) will need to be imported from South Africa, up from the five year average of 62 per cent.

  • Food prices, especially maize, have been falling in Southern Africa for most of 2016. The price of maize meal in Swaziland however has not seen a similar reduction in 2016. Maize meal was on average 53 per cent more expensive in Swaziland in August/September 2016 compared to the southern African average. Making it the country with the second highest price of maize meal per kg in the region, second only to Namibia which is a non-maize producer. Swaziland’s National Maize Corporation (NMC) is not anticipating reducing its maize grain prices till March 2017. The high price of maize has already forced many households top opt for cheaper alternatives such as rice and sour porridge.

  • As a result of falling commodity prices, southern Africa is also experiencing serious national currency devaluations. This is having an impact on consumer purchasing power especially affecting the value of remittances from Swazis living abroad. Between February 2015 and December 2016 the following currencies fell by: Zambia’s Kwacha fell by 25 per cent; Mozambique’s Metical by 109 per cent; Angola’s Kwanza by 60 per cent; and South Africa’s Rand fell by 21 per cent, against the US Dollar.

  • The main objective of the MoA Swaziland 2016 Market Assessment was to determine market capacity and functionality in the most food insecure Tinkhundla of Swaziland during the 2016-17 consumption year. The market assessment data was also used to guide a cash based transfer (CBT) modality selection process where Tinkhundla were recommended a CBT intervention modality (cash, vouchers and/or in-kind) based on a set of indicators. More information can be found on the 2016 Swaziland CBT Response Options Report.

  • The assessment employed primary and secondary data sources to gather data. Structured trader and key informant questionnaires were used to collect the primary data while key stakeholder discussions were undertaken to obtain information from market actors.

  • A total of 35 markets in 29 Tinkhundla across the country’s 4 regions were assessed. In total, 12 wholesalers, 64 medium vendors, and 43 small traders/retailers were interviewed using a structured questionnaire for a total of 119 traders.

  • Interviewed traders identified: low consumer demand (24.4 per cent of traders) and limited trader capital (10.7 per cent) as key constraints to trade. These are typically constraints that can be addressed through the use of CBT interventions. Other key constraints to trade mentioned by the interviewed traders were: shortage of supply (19 per cent), insecurity (19 per cent), transport limitations (15.5 per cent), competition (9.5 per cent) and food assistance (1.8 per cent).