Swaziland has excellent farming and ranching land, and 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Sugarcane is grown on plantations, mainly for export. Other important crops are cotton, corn, tobacco, rice, citrus fruits, pineapples, sorghum, and peanuts. Cattle and goats are raised in large numbers. The Swazi engage primarily in subsistence farming on communally owned land that is allocated by chiefs. The pine and eucalyptus forests of the highveld yield timber and wood pulp. The country has several nature reserves, and tourism is being developed.
Coal mining and stone quarrying are important; Swaziland's other mineral resources include asbestos, clay, cassiterite (tin ore), gold, and diamonds. Industry consists chiefly of food processing and the manufacture of soft drink concentrates, textiles, and consumer goods. Many Swazis are employed in South Africa's mines and industries. Railroads connect with ports in South Africa, the country's main trading partner, and with Mozambique. The country's chief exports are soft drink concentrates, sugar, wood pulp, cotton yarn, refrigerators, citrus, and canned fruit. Imports include motor vehicles, machinery, transportation equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, and chemicals. A major portion of the government's income consists of revenues from the Southern African Customs Union.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.