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Eswatini - Agriculture Pre-Harvest Assessment, March 2022

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I. Key Highlights:

❖ The observed rainfall amount for the 2021/22 season was significantly above the long-term average for the period October 2021 to March 2022. This was in line with the projected Above-Normal rains for the season.

❖ Water availability for human consumption and agricultural purposes greatly improved this season as a result of the above normal rains.

❖ The estimated maize production stands at 127,315.43 MT, an increase of 27% from the 2020/2021 season. Average national yield is at 1.7 MT/Ha.

❖ There is an observed increase in the production of other crops as Sweet Potatoes by 450%; Sorghum by 60%; Legumes/pulses beans increased by 225%; Groundnuts by 68% and Cowpeas by 2,028%.

❖ The impact of pests and diseases was minimal in all the regions, where the Fall Armyworm remains a pest of concern in the country as it was reported in areas visited, however, farmers are now able to control it.

❖ The above normal rainfall experienced had a negative impact on soil fertility as nutrient leaching high in most areas, especially the highveld.

❖ Generally, livestock condition is good in most parts of the country. Disease incidents and mortality are at acceptable levels. A rise in pest and disease incidents given the increased amount of rainfall. However, farmers were able to control them on their own.

❖ Developments in the international arena (Russia/Ukraine conflict) have had a negative impact on overall seasonal performance as the country experienced significant increases and shortages in Agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer chemicals and seeds. This came in the backdrop of already high prices brought about by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current support programmes by the government and partners provided the needed relief for farmers.