New bridges and upgraded roads improve profits and lives of small sugar cane farmers in Swaziland. Replacing gravel roads and a low hanging, one-way bridge with new infrastructure has improved efficiency for the farmers. Cane haulage time and distance between field and mill are shorter. Fresh sugar cane is cut and burnt in the field and has to be taken to the mill as soon as possible to keep its quality. This 'burn-to-crush' time is best kept under three days. Therefore, getting the cane faster to the mill increases its quality and consequently its price.
Cane transportation makes up to 40% of small farmers’ overall costs. Their fields are further from the mills than those of large commercial companies. Faster transport therefore has a great positive effect on small farms.
Furthermore, members of the community can now go to work, school, the local clinic or the city much faster, and the new infrastructure has even attracted improvements in public transportation.
The EU invested € 54 million in infrastructure in the Swazi sugar belt. This investment is part of a wider program aiming to improve competitiveness in the sugar industry and to reduce poverty (total of € 118,6 million).
Among other parastatal organizations, Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise (SWADE) implemented the project together with the government of Swaziland.