A Balaka North farmer at work

BALAKA – The opposition UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT Member of Parliament for BALAKA NORTH Constituency in the SOUTHERN REGION of MALAWI has urged the government to find a lasting solution to the problem of Fall Army Worms.

The NYASA TIMES newspaper says LUCIUS BANDA has visited some of the farmers who have been heavily affected by the notorious caterpillars, which he says keep on destroying thousands of hectares of maize across the country every year.

It says his comments come amid reports saying the Fall Army Worms have ravaged 270-THOUSAND hectares while drought has affected 12 percent of the ONE-POINT-SEVEN-MILLION hectares of maize planted.

Mr BANDA says the country has had this tragedy of Fall Army Worms almost every year, and it is high time the authorities come up with a lasting solution by making the pesticides are always available to farmers.

He says all farmers should try as much as possible and at all times to spray their fields after planting and before the crops are attacked, which should be a tradition the way people always do with fertilizer every year.

BALAKA District Commissioner RODRICK MATEAUMA says Fall Army Worms have destroyed more than 19-THOUSAND hectares of maize in the area, raising strong fears of hunger just like in the previous growing season.

Meanwhile, the TIMES says Mr BANDA has already sent an S.O.S to the government to include in its plans to help the people of BALAKA with relief food items.

He says it is already JANUARY, and there is nothing farmers can do in their affected fields; which means they will be severely hit by hunger, and he is appealing to the authorities to start preparations now to save the people.

The combined effects of Fall Army Worms and drought threaten food production and the economic growth targets in the agro-based economy of MALAWI, with the contribution of agriculture to the GDP pegged at least 30 percent./Sabanews/cam



Northern Namibian communal farmer

WINDHOEK – The EUROPEAN UNION Mission in NAMIBIA has pledged 600-MILLION NAMIBIA dollars (50-MILLION-545-THOUSAND-650 US dollars) to support different programs by farmers in the Northern Communal Area over a period of up to SIX years.

NBC News says some of the agricultural schemes have been going on since 2014 and will be coming to an end this year.

It says the projects include the Communal Land Reform Project, Agriculture Advisory Services, RANGELAND Early Warning and Monitoring System, and the Livestock Marketing Initiative.

The Livestock Sector Support Program and Enhancing Agriculture Governance Initiatives only started last year, and will run until 2023.

EU Ambassador JANA HYBASKOVA has told NBC News the support programs involve both financial and technical support to northern communal farmers, to help them reach an acceptable level of farming.

He says the project will help address disparities in farming, and ensure the farmers produce quality livestock and get good prices on the market.

The NAMIBIA NATIONAL FARMERS’ UNION, ONE of the implementing entities, has expressed hope the programs will respond to the needs of farmers.

The Executive Director of the group, MWILIMA MUSHOKOBANJI, says he believes farmers in the area will be able to market their livestock and get good prices through the Public Procurement Act.

Meanwhile, available information shows about HALF of the NAMIBIAN population depends largely on subsistence agriculture for livelihoods, but the nation must still import some of its food.

Researchers say although its per capita GDP is FIVE times that of AFRICA’s poorest countries, the majority of NAMIBIANS live in rural areas and exist on a subsistence way of life.

NAMIBIA has ONE of the highest rates of income inequalities in the world, partly because of an urban economy and a more rural cashless economy; and while arable land accounts for only ONE percent of the country, nearly HALF of the population works in agriculture.

Records also show about FOUR-THOUSAND, mostly white, commercial farmers own almost 50 percent of the arable land; but GERMANY and BRITAIN have pledged finance when NAMIBIA starts expropriating land to resettle landless blacks.

Help for NAMIBIA is also underway from the GREEN CLIMATE FUND, which is expected to approve about 10-MILLION-951-THOUSAND-558 US dollars next month, to help the country respond to climate change adaptation in the KUNENE Region./Sabanews/cam


When disaster strikes, women and children suffer most
HARARE – Governments in the SADC Region have been urged to improve on information sharing to ensure communities are evacuated on time when weather-related disasters strike.
The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says people expect increased moisture to improve cropping, but floods can destroy crops and disturb food security.
It says excessive rainfall may also increase the incidences of malaria and water-borne diseases in the region as well as the possibility of damage to infrastructure due to flooding.
SARDC says ONE of the challenges still affecting SADC member states is the lack of current and reliable data on possible weather scenarios, resulting in many people getting killed or becoming homeless.
It says there is also need to retrofit, or to add new technology or features to, public infrastructure such as schools – as they act as both centres of learning and as sanctuaries in cases of emergencies such as floods.
The Centre says River Basin Organisations, like the ZAMBEZI WATERCOURSE COMMISSION, ZAMCOM, are making efforts to improve the sharing of information on water flow and climate conditions.
ZAMCOM is in the process of strengthening information sharing in the EIGHT Basin States: ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.
The involved nations share the data through the ZAMBEZI Water Resources Information System Enhancement THREE: Hydro-meteorological Database and Decision Support System, or ZAMWIS-DSS.
The SARDC says the main objective of the ZAMWIS-DSS is to support the promotion and coordination of the management and development of resources of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.
Authorities expect that once the system is completed, riparian states will be able to respond better to flood hazards in the future; and the region is taking another measure to set up village-based response systems to respond to floods.
The alert system includes the use of traditional knowledge systems in raising awareness through civic education, like, for example, the appearance of large populations of ants will indicate occurrence of floods.
Weather and other experts say floods may present opportunities to the SADC Region if countries start prioritizing water harvesting projects to harness rains and use the water for agricultural purposes in future, especially during drought years./Sabanews/cam



Results of dry weather in parts of Zimbabwe

GABORONE – The Southern AFRICAN Development Community, SADC Region is likely to continue to receive rains until MAY this year, unlike previously when the wet spells ended in MARCH or APRIL.

The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says the information is in the 21ST Southern AFRICA Regional Climate Outlook Forum Mid-season Review and Update released in DECEMBER.

The study says most parts of the SADC may receive more rainfall from JANUARY to MAY 2018, a welcome development, mainly in the southern parts of the region where low rainfall caused delays in planting and crop moisture stress in some areas.

It says in areas such as Southern MOZAMBIQUE, Southern ZAMBIA, and the whole of ZIMBABWE, crops are already showing signs of moisture stress due to the prevailing dry spells.

SARDC also quotes reports from NAMIBIA as saying low rainfall has caused deterioration of grazing pastures, while other affected farmers in the SADC Region are beginning to worry about the effect of the current erratic rains on crop production.

However, almost the whole of the region has more chances of normal to above-normal rains from JANUARY to MARCH, with normal to below-normal rains in the south-westernmost parts of ANGOLA and the western fringes of both NAMIBIA and SOUTH AFRICA.

Experts expect North-western DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO and the easternmost parts of MADAGASCAR to have increased chances of normal to below-normal rainfall during the period MARCH to MAY 2018.

They say most areas of the northern and north-eastern parts of the region received above normal rains, whereas the central and south-western parts like BOTSWANA and ZIMBABWE received less rainfall during the OCTOBER to NOVEMBER 2017 period.

Their update shows the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, the main rain-bearing mechanism for Southern AFRICA, is still very active and is centred over the northern and eastern parts of the SADC Region.

They also say there is a possibility farmers who planted late may harvest good yields, considering that rainfall is likely to end in MAY.

However, the SARDC says the Mid-season Review and Update is only relevant to seasonal time scales as well as relatively large areas; and may not fully account for all local and intra-seasonal factors that influence weather patterns.

The organisation says it is crucial for farmers and other users of climate information in the SADC Region to contact their national meteorological and hydrological offices for better interpretation and regular updates./Sabanews/cam



Katutura State Hospital

WINDHOEK – The opposition POPULAR DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT in NAMIBIA has condemned the poor hygiene at state hospitals, which it says has the potential to continue the spread of the Hepatitis E disease.

Party President MCHENRY VENAANI says non-flushing toilets at the KATUTURA Government Hospital are of particular concern to him.

He has told a media briefing this week of his disgust at the worsening sanitary conditions at the medical centre, where nursing staff and patients are having to use buckets to flush toilets.

NBC News says the poor sanitation at KATUTURA Hospital has been public knowledge for some time now, with reports of rats and cockroaches in wards, falling ceilings, faulty water taps and toilets, as well as occasional shortages of crucial medicines.

It says Mr VENAANI has further condemned the obvious lack of commitment to service delivery, mainly in informal settlements where poor households do not have proper toilet facilities.

The national broadcaster also says in the FIVE weeks since the outbreak of Hepatitis E, some 440 people have shown symptoms of infection and 40 cases have been confirmed positive.

It says infection comes after exposure to water contaminated by faeces or from poor hygiene, meaning that people do not wash hands after using the toilet.

The spread of outbreak of Hepatitis E in the NAMIBIAN high-density suburbs is made worse by the lack of functional toilets and water points in the HAVANA and GOREANGAB Dam informal areas.

WHO says Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus, HEV, which is shed in the stools of infected persons and enters the human body through the intestine; while a proportion of people with this disease can die./Sabanews/cam

Zim First Lady Partners with UNAIDS to fight HIV and AIDS

Amai Mnangagwa poses for a photo with UNAIDS Country Director Girmay Haile
First Lady receives a Sustainable Development Goals and HIV and AIDS Emblem
First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe House


HARARE – FIRST Lady AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA of ZIMBABWE is collaborating with the Joint UNITED NATIONS Program on HIV and AIDS, UNAIDS, to help fight the pandemic in her country and globally.

A statement from the UN Mission says UNAIDS Country Director GIRMAY HAILE has this TUESDAY sealed the deal with the FIRST Lady at her office at ZIMBABWE House in the capital, HARARE.

Ms MNANGAGWA has met with Mr HAILE, saying she is committed to play a strategic national and international advocacy role in ending HIV and AIDS, which has so far killed millions worldwide –still without a cure.

The UNAIDS Country Director has briefed the FIRST Lady during their morning meeting on upcoming events of the Organisation of AFRICAN FIRST Ladies against HIV and AIDS, OAFLA, an affiliate of UNAIDS.

Mr HAILE has outlined the unique role the FIRST Lady can play in ending the disease in ZIMBABWE and globally.

The UN Mission says Ms MNANGAGWA is due to attend the OAFLA General Assembly this week, from 25 to 29 JANUARY in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, in what will be a historic FIRST time for a ZIMBABWE FIRST Lady to attend.

Mr HAILE says the UNAIDS has a tradition to engage FIRST Ladies for high level advocacy on HIV, empowerment of young women and adolescent girls and elimination of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in their respective countries.

He says the appointment is a prestigious appointment given to active FIRST Ladies and others who join the OAFLA.

Ms MNANGAGWA says she is ready to showcase the success of ZIMBABWE in the fight against HIV and AIDS and to champion national as well as world advocacy efforts to end the pandemic.

She says she is a field person and will be delighted to take initiatives that will improve the lives and livelihoods of the people of her country; chiefly the most needy, the marginalised and others at high risk.

Ms MNANGAGWA says she is ready to act on the ground in support of efforts of the government and the UNAIDS as well as citizens to end HIV and AIDS in ZIMBABWE.

She says she is eager to intensify advocacy efforts to address other prevalent social ills like child marriages, early pregnancies, reproductive health rights, cervical and breast cancer, including other issues affecting girls and young women.

Mr HAILE has welcomed the participation of the FIRST Lady in the upcoming 20TH Ordinary General Assembly, saying the move makes her the FIRST ZIMBABWEAN FIRST Lady to do so and it is setting a very positive precedence going into the future.

He says the gathering is a strategic platform to share experiences with other FIRST Ladies from AFRICA and world partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and he has thanked the FIRST Lady on behalf of the UNAIDS Executive Director, MICHELE SIDIBE.

The UNAIDS Country Director has given Ms MNANGAGWA a Sustainable Development Goals and HIV and AIDS badge.

The UN Mission says the emblem is in recognition of the commitment of the FIRST Lady to help end HIV and AIDS, reduce maternal and infant mortality, curb cervical cancer, as well as end child marriages and early pregnancies in ZIMBABWE./Sabanews/cam