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Swaziland

ISO: 
SWZ
Subregion: 
Hide on Benchmarking: 
0
French: 
Swaziland
Spanish: 
Swazilandia
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No
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DMP_ID: 
37
ASTI-Country: 
1
Main Agency Acronym(s): 
DARSS

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Swaziland: ASTI–DARSS Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Nienke Beintema, Patricia Carmichael, and Sandra Perez

Year:
2017

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research and Specialist Services

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Swaziland

Further information

Declining government support

Government support to the country’s main agricultural research agency, DARSS—which was already comparatively small—declined in recent years (in inflation-adjusted terms). As a result, funding levels have only been sufficient to cover staff salaries, causing a deterioration of infrastructure and equipment. DARSS has been successful in securing donor funding for various projects, which has compensated for the shortfall in government funding somewhat. Higher levels of funding are needed, however, if agricultural research in Swaziland is to become more productive and efficient.

Small institutional system

Swaziland’s national research system is one of the smallest in Africa. It is also unique in that its university, UNISWA, employs more agricultural researchers (in FTEs) than does its main government research agency, DARSS. UNISWA also employs a comparatively high share of PhD-qualified researchers, whereas DARSS employed just one during 2009–2014. The total number of researchers employed at DARSS declined somewhat due to staff attrition and a slow recruitment process.

Positive policy developments

The recently approved national policy on agricultural research calls for improved priority setting. The policy also recommends that research platforms be established at both regional and national levels. It is intended that such platforms will facilitate interactions among stakeholders in determining the research agenda. In addition, a draft bill to form an agricultural research authority is currently awaiting parliamentary debate.

Underinvestment but high intensity

Swaziland’s intensity ratio fell to 0.93 percent in 2014 as a result of declining spending levels. Although this level is close to the 1 percent minimum level recommended by the African Union and the United Nations, small countries like Swaziland generally require high investment in research and development because—in contrast with larger countries—they are unable to take advantage of economies of scale. As a result, basic research infrastructure and staffing demand greater investment.

ASTI data helps increase PhDs in Swaziland

According to ASTI Focal Point Patricia Carmichael with the Agriculture Research Division at Malkerns Research Station, the  government of Swaziland has not typically been keen to train researchers to PhD level. If a researcher wanted to further train towards PHD, she or he was told that PhD level was not government’s priority, and if the researcher wants to go for further training was either given an option to resign or take leave without pay.

Swaziland: ASTI–DARSS Country Factsheet

ASTI publicaiton cover

Authors:
Kathleen Flaherty and Patricia Carmichael

Year:
2014

Publisher
International Food Policy Research Institute and Department of Agricultural Research and Specialist Services.

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)
Swaziland

Agricultural R&D spending in Swaziland decreased considerably between 2009 and 2011. The country’s main government agency, DARSS, is almost entirely supported by the government, but its funding— which was already comparatively small—declined in recent years. As a result, funding levels have only been sufficient to cover staff salaries. No capital investments were made in 2011, and operating costs were also cut, seriously compromising DARSS’s ability to conduct meaningful research.

Swaziland’s national research system is one of the smallest in Africa. It is also unique in that its higher education agency, UNISWA-FA, employs more agricultural researchers (in FTEs) than does its main government research agency, DARSS. UNISWA-FA also employs a relatively high share of PhD-qualified researchers while DARSS employed just one in 2011.

Agricultural R&D spending as a share of agricultural GDP continues to be quite high in Swaziland, which is common in small countries because research infrastructure and staffing are expensive given the comparatively small size of the agricultural sector.


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