TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Swaziland: Exporters Battle to Meet International Standards

Friday, 10 November 2006

Source: Swazi Observer

The country’s inadequate capacity of meeting international standards has been identified as one of the barriers that limit export growth in AGOA eligible countries.

A statement sourced from the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) competitiveness report of July last year states that local producers usually report difficulties in producing output that meets European Union standards.

One of Swaziland’s case was with the issue of beef exports to the EU where the latter stated that Swaziland was not meeting the required standards to allow beef into their market. “Swaziland Meat Industries (SMI) processes beef for export and is an EU approved abattoir. However, a 2005 shipment of Swazi beef to the EU was halted because of improper paperwork and veterinary records,” reads the report in part.

On the other hand, the report further states that the issue of land tenure in the country was yet another significant barrier. Swaziland has two forms of land tenure, title deed and Swazi nation land. Title deed land is leased to commercial farmers and Swazi nation land, which makes up to 60 percent of the total area, is devoted to small scale and community managed subsistence farming.

Swazi nation land is held in trust for the nation and parceled out by community chiefs and leaders. The report reads that the Swazi nation land system contributes to ambiguous land tenure regulations and lack of land ownership security.

“This discourages farmers from making investments in their property, reducing overall agricultural productivity and consequently hampering potential export growth, particularly in the agricultural sector,” reads the report.

Zizwe Vilane from the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) said most business people had actually complained about the issue of land ownership in the country. “Investors want the land acquisition issue to be well known and be in the open. They have actually called for the improvement of information on land use, ownership and urban growth,” said Vilane. He said this during a meeting on deliberations about the Investor Roadmap held at Tum’s George Hotel yesterday morning.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Swaziland’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.