PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN (R) speaks with Ambassador Promise Msibi of Swaziland in the capital..
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Deputy ambassador to South Africa Ayellet Black led a course on drip irrigation and crop management in Swaziland with two Israeli experts, Shlomo Kramer and Nissim Sroussi, earlier this month.
This comes after a severe drought, caused by the effects of El Nino, almost crippled Swaziland last year and left hundreds of thousands without food, endangering the country’s food security.
Black, who is also the deputy ambassador to Lesotho, Mauritius and Swaziland, said in an interview with South Africa’s Jewish radio station, Chai FM, that this visit was essentially bringing two experts in the field of irrigation and crop management to the small Southern African country for a joint course, together with Swaziland’s Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise.
“Both of us together trained 19 trainers in the agricultural field so they will know exactly how to train various farmers on how to irrigate and manage crops correctly so that they can yield a lot more from their various agricultural endeavors,” she said, adding that this was her second time in the country after she visited in March with two other Israeli irrigation experts who created the course.
Black said that when they started the course in the country earlier this month, the principal secretary of Swaziland’s Agricultural Ministry came and gave a “fantastic speech about the beautiful relationships and mounds of cooperation that is to be had, and we’re hoping that this will be the first of many courses that Israel and Swaziland can do together.”
“A lot of their challenges are challenges Israel has coped with in the past and are still coping with now and we’re happy to work together and see how we can both produce better food management and to hopefully combat the climate change, which is affecting the entire continent and affecting Africa more-so than any other continent, and to combat the fact that climate change is causing about 4% of fertile land loss every year [in Africa]. So these are two major factors that need to be dealt with accordingly.”
She added that it was amazing to see how “our partners in Swaziland are so motivated and dedicated” to do what they need to in order to combat the effects of climate change in the country.
Black also explained that the entire cooperation started when Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini visited Israel last December and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two prime ministers had met at the United Nations in September 2016, which prompted the December visit.
“The relationship between Israel and Swaziland goes back a few years now, with Israel coming back to Africa in general. Particularly a great example of this is the high-level visit of [Swaziland’s] prime minister [to Israel] a year ago and we’re hoping this [strong tie with Israel] will carry on... [and that Swaziland remains] a great and beautiful country that has great relations with Israel.”
According to the 2017 Annual Vulnerability Analysis Assessment, food security in Swaziland improved slightly in 2017, though many households have not fully recovered from the El-Nino-related drought, according to the UN World Food Program. Approximately 159,000 people may require humanitarian assistance during the upcoming 2017/2018 lean season, compared to approximately 350,000 individuals during the same period in 2016/2017. This is due to high food prices, poor agricultural performance, and reduced income opportunities.