This is the first country strategy and programme evaluation (CSPE) to be conducted in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The report provides an independent assessment of the performance of IFAD’s interventions in the country over the period 2000-2021.
The evaluation found that IFAD country strategies accurately analysed the issues contributing to rural poverty in Eswatini, and were fully aligned with relevant national strategies and IFAD strategic frameworks and policies. IFAD support effectively established and developed the national rural finance sector, promoted smallholder sugarcane production and established smallholder farmer companies with access to and control over land and water.
However, not all challenges were adequately addressed. The value chains of local commodities – such as pulses, vegetables and goats – did not ensure fair distribution of returns to producers. The water users’ associations introduced to manage access to water at farm level were not operational, while the farmer companies established could not invest in crop renovation due to increasing production costs and diminishing returns.
The CSPE’s recommendations for IFAD’s future support, through its country strategy and programme, include addressing the fundamental constraints that prevent rural smallholder producers, women and youth from achieving more sustainable livelihoods. In addition, drawing on the rich lessons learned over time, IFAD and the Government should identify the most efficient and effective implementation arrangements for their joint initiatives that will also allow smallholder producers to benefit the most.