Productivity of Smallholder Sugarcane Farmers in Swaziland: The Case of Komati Downstream Development Programme (KDDP) Farmers’ Associations, 2005-2011

Mandla B. Dlamini, Micah B. Masuku


Smallholder sugarcane growing is central to rural development and poverty alleviation in Swaziland. The main objective of smallholder sugarcane growing is to reduce poverty through increased household income as a result of sugarcane production. This study investigated the productivity of smallholder sugarcane farmers’ associations under KDDP and the factors affecting sugarcane productivity. The study used data from 2004/05 to 2010/2011 production seasons for 15 smallholder sugarcane farmers’ associations under KDDP. Production records for the farmers’ associations were obtained from the Swaziland Water and Enterprise Development. The associations were purposively selected because of their experience in sugarcane production. Currently the productivity of the farmers’ associations is 100.8 tonnes per ha. The Cobb-Douglas production function was used to identify the factors affecting sugarcane productivity. The results indicated that farm size, labour, basal fertilizer and topdressing fertilizer were statistically significant (p<0.05) in influencing sugarcane productivity. The adjusted R2 was 0.68 suggesting that 68% of the variation in sugarcane yield per hectare is explained by the explanatory variables. Farmers should take note to use labour according to the industry standards in order to get good yields. Basal fertilizer and top dressing fertilizer need to be applied in the recommended amounts. Good crop husbandry practices like timely weeding, fertilization, irrigation should be adopted to produce a good crop which will enhance productivity. Government and the private sector need to intensify the out grower technical services rendered to sugarcane farmers, so that they can improve the productivity of sugarcane farming.

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