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Zimbabwe Bids Farewell To Hunger After Bumper Harvest

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Zimbabwe has reported a bumper harvest of maize and other grains capable of feeding for the next one year the country’s 14.65 million people.

According to Zimbabwe’s  Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report, traditional grains production for the ending season is estimated at 347 968 tonnes compared to 152 515 tonnes harvested in 2019/2020. The increase in production has been attributed to the amount of rainfall and its distribution.

The report has revealed that most districts in Zimbabwe are harvesting enough maize and traditional grains to last more than 12 months with only a few areas having enough to cater for six months and below.

“In addition to the good rainfall season in the 2020/2021 season, the practice of climate proofed technologies significantly contributed to the increased yield levels supported by well-coordinated input programmes.

The report says, “There was marked improvement in maize yield across the country as a result of increased amount of rainfall and good distribution from the onset of the season in November 2020 to the end of February 2021.”

Under the President Mnangagwa government, new innovations have been implemented to revamp agriculture production. Some of the innovations include; the practice of climate proofed technologies (Pfumvudza/ Intwasa).

Pfumvudza is a crop production intensification approach under which farmers ensure the efficient use of resources (inputs and labour) on a small area of land. This farming concept aims at ensuring food, nutrition and livelihood security at household level.

Pfumvudza involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns. The approach can be used in marginal areas and still give high yields.

A total of 202 037 hectares were put under Pfumvudza maize and 1 066 755 tonnes are expected from that while 50 016 tonnes of sorghum are expected from the 10 634 hectares put under Pfumvudza.

Meanwhile, last week President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to propel Zimbabwe to reclaim Africa’s Breadbasket crown through implementing a series of adjustments in the country’s Agriculture systems.

He was speaking at a high-level dialogue on feeding Africa , under the theme “Leadership to scale up successful innovations”.

“In Zimbabwe between 2020 and 2021, crop yield is expected to increase by 199% for maize harvest, 128% for the harvest of traditional grains (and) 94% for cotton harvest,” President Mnangagwa said last week.

President Mnangagwa targets to shift Zimbabwe into a “Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Status by 2030.”

According to President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy launched last year premised on achieving a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025, is anchored on climate-smart technologies, extension services and increased innovations.

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East African Community Welcomes Re-opening Of Rwanda-Uganda Border

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The East African Community has applauded the efforts of its two partner’s states Rwanda-Uganda in the normalization of relations and the current move to re-open borders.

“The EAC Secretariat applauds the relationship and government of Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Uganda for their efforts towards the re-opening of Rwanda-Uganda border,” the statement said.

Peter Mathiuki, the acting Secretary-General of the Community, hailed the move in the communique “as a boost to regional integration” noting that strengthening bilateral ties between EAC partner states will revitalize social, economic and political relations.

“The move is a reflection of the deep commitment and existing goodwill among the EAC Heads of States to widen and deepen cooperation in the bloc, particularly as the community expands the anticipated entry of the DRC,” he adds in a statement.

According to the EAC communique, “the re-opening of the border would also promote peace across the region. The secretariat is ready to provide any technical support that may be required to ensure sustainability on the movement of goods and services across all borders,”

“The re-opening of the border itself is set to spark social, economic and activities and also benefit the informal cross border traders who rely on the two partner states for the supply of the and market of their goods.” reads the statement.

In February 2020, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, then Minister of State for EAC Affairs, in a press conference said the Wanainchi (citizens)of both countries were expressing fatigue over the self-inflicted injury in the East African Community.

“They are just demanding security on the common border, the end of destabilizing activities by armed and terrorist groups, and the free movement of people, goods and services in peace and security,” Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe said during the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Commission on the implementation of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding between Uganda and Rwanda.

While referring to the Kampala attacks, in September, the Ugandan MP in the East African Community in the meeting with the EAC Council of Ministers demanded that unless the region builds stronger relations terror attackers would easily exploit disunity and attack other countries in the region.

According to African Report, last year, Uganda exported goods worth only US$1.4m to Rwanda, the lowest figure since 1997 when the Bank of Uganda started recording trade statistics.

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South-Africa

South Africa Omicron Study Points to end of Pandemic

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A South African study from the epicenter of the world’s omicron surge offers a tantalizing hint that the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic may be ending.

The infection wave moved with “unprecedented speed” and caused much milder illness than earlier strains, a study of patients infected with COVID-19 at a large hospital in the South African city where the first outbreak of the omicron variant was recorded showed.

“If this pattern continues and is repeated globally, we are likely to see a complete decoupling of case and death rates,” the researchers said. That suggests “omicron may be a harbinger of the end of the epidemic phase of the COVID pandemic, ushering in its endemic phase.”

The study at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex analyzed records of 466 patients from the current wave and 3,976 from previous bouts of infection. Researchers that worked on it included Fareed Abdullah, a director at the council and an infectious disease doctor at the hospital.

South Africa, the first country to have a major omicron outbreak, is being closely watched to see how infections from the variant may pan out globally. The comparatively young age of the country’s population and those hospitalized in the latest wave could also mask the severity of disease caused by the variant, the researchers said.

Still, the data add to hope among researchers that concern over omicron’s high transmission rates is being tempered by the mildness of the disease it appears to cause and the limited number of deaths that result from its infections.

South African hospitalizations have crested at half of their record in previous waves. Weekly excess deaths, a measure of the number of deaths compared with a historical average, peaked at less than a fifth of their record during the pandemic.

If other countries have similar experiences, that may help move the pandemic to an endemic phase, where widespread exposure gives more people immunity resulting in less serious disease. Still, the virus could mutate further into a strain that causes more severe disease and more easily evades antibodies produced from prior infections or vaccinations.

The study showed that just 4.5% of patients with COVID-19 died during their hospital stay in the current wave compared with an average of 21% in earlier waves, according to the South African Medical Research Council’s website. Fewer people were admitted to intensive-care units, and hospital stays were “significantly shorter.”

The rate of admissions climbed rapidly but began to decline within 33 days of the first analyzed, the study said. A snapshot of patients in the hospital on Dec. 14 and 15 showed that almost two-thirds of those infected with COVID-19 had been admitted for other reasons.

“This phenomenon has not been observed to this extent before in the Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex or anywhere in South Africa,” the study said. It “most likely reflects high levels of asymptomatic disease in the community with omicron infection,” it said.

It also found:

  • Hospital stays averaged four days compared with 8.8 in previous waves. The mean age of those admitted was 39 compared with almost 50 in earlier waves.
  • Admissions to intensive-care units dropped to 1% of patients from 4.3%.
  • Admissions peaked at 108 compared with 213 during the delta wave.

The findings “were comparable to city-wide trends when cases and admissions from all public and private hospitals reported,” the researchers said. There was “a lower admission per case ratio, lower death rate and lower rates of admission to the ICU compared to previous waves.”

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South-Africa

SADAC Forces Kill Terror Leader In Mozambique

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The military mission of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique (SAMIM) said Saturday it killed the insurgent’s religious leader in Cabo Delgado.

The Cabo Delgado–which is the terrorism’s epicentre in Mozambique–has seen the displacement of over 800,000 people and threatening the billions of gas projects by multinationals in the region.

Mozambique has been battling terrorists calling themselves Al-Shabaab.

According to the SAMIM’s statement, Sheikh Njile North who orchestrated the first attack on Mocímboa da Praia in October 2017, played a leading role in recruiting and indoctrinating terrorists’ personnel.

The Islamic State group took control of most of the five districts in Cabo Delgado in four years since 2017.

“He was leader of the religious sect of Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah”.

“Sheikh Njile North was killed last week along with 18 other insurgents and had an herbalist where he called on the population to rise up”, SAMIM said in.a statement.

The sheikh with ID name Rajab Awadhi Ndanjile was born in Litinginya village, Nangade district in Cabo Delgado.

Meanwhile, an armed group linked to the Islamic State attacked Saturday afternoon Namatili village in Mueda district in Cabo Delgado province without causing fatalities.

The group invaded the village on motorbikes, using machine guns of various calibres, causing widespread panic and the population fled into the woods, VOA Radio quoted eyewitnesses adding the armed group had not burned houses, they were just looking for food.

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