This was said by EU Ambassador, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, on 13 March 2020 at Siphofaneni, east of Eswatini, where she toured several smallholder farmer companies under the high value crop and horticulture project for which the EU has provided up to 16 million Euros (approx. SZL 280 million) to support these smallholder farmers.
This project ensures the production of a variety of horticulture produce ranging from banana to dry maize, sugar beans and many others mainly for export purposes.
These crops are produced on a 600 ha of land that has been developed for the benefit of about 500 smallholder farmers of whom approximately 200 are women and the youth.
During the tour, the EU Ambassador, along with the Minister of Agriculture, Jabulani Mabuza, also got the opportunity to plant some of the crops at Sidzakeni farm, one of the farmer companies under this project.
In her speech after the tour and planting, Ambassador Hernandez Aragones said the diversification of the agricultural produce will not only ensure food security for Eswatini but will also help generate revenue that will bring about a better life for the farmers and their communities.
"This project resonates with the global agenda of the European Union which seeks to promote economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, gender equality and women empowerment," said the Ambassador.
She said whilst there were a number of women involved in the project, there was still room for more.
In his speech, the Minister of Agriculture, Jabulani Mabuza, paid tribute to the EU for its support to this project, saying the project fits well with his ministry's strategy of increasing diversified agricultural production so as to ensure food security for the country.
He added that the EU support also helps to address the institutional, production and marketing challenges the country faces in the agricultural sector.