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TaiwanICDF Assists Eswatini Small Holder Farmers in Building Economic Competitiveness of Strawberries

TaiwanICDF Assists Eswatini Small Holder Farmers in Building Economic Competitiveness of Strawberries

The TaiwanICDF has introduced new agricultural production technologies of strawberries to the Kingdom of Eswatini. In the past, fresh strawberries could only be imported from South Africa, but now local farmers are also able to produce them. The Taiwan Technical Mission used plant tissue culture technology for high-quality strawberry seedlings, and advised Eswatini small holder farmers on reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides during cultivation in an environmentally friendly way. As a result, the farmers successfully produced the first batch of delicious strawberries that was sold locally.

In addition to guiding farmers to produce strawberry organically, the Taiwan Technical Mission also helped to establish marketing channels of the fruit with two Eswatini supermarkets that have embraced Taiwanese technology for trial sales. Each box (250g) of strawberries with a retail price of nearly 25 emalangeni (NT$50) is not cheap at all in term of domestic prices, but 50 boxes of strawberries were sold out immediately. Consumers said that local strawberries were fresher and bigger than imported ones, and the flavor was sweeter too. The Taiwan Technical Mission revealed the secret is that the fruits are only harvested when they are almost fully ripe (80 to 90 percent). Even the supermarket manager was surprised by such good sales performance, and he pledged his commitment to support local high-quality agricultural products.

Mr. Dumsani Maseko, a small holder farmer from Eswatini who planted strawberries for the first time, even started a new business. He previously only focused on planting vegetables, but with the encouragement and guidance of the Taiwan Technical Mission, he bravely and enthusiastically engaged in strawberry cultivation.

Now he has sold about 3,600 boxes of strawberries, and his income has increased nearly twice as much as from vegetables. This gives him the ability to purchase electronic scales and refrigerators for strengthening post-harvest handling, grading and packaging. He has even started producing and providing seedlings for other farmers to simultaneously expand the economic impact of the strawberry business.

With this successful experience, the Taiwan Technical Mission will continue to provide seedlings, support environmentally friendly techniques, and link production with marketing channels such as supermarkets. The three-pronged approach will assist Eswatini small holder farmers to enhance the competitiveness of locally produced strawberries, reduce the import of 35 tons of strawberries, and earn US$150,000 in annual output value.

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  • Date:2021/10/1