Africa Asia Middle East Français Português Subscribe IRIN Site Map
PlusNews
Global HIV/AIDS news and analysis
Advanced search
 Thursday 04 October 2007
 
Home 
Africa 
Weekly reports 
In-Depth reports 
Country profiles 
Fact files 
Events 
Jobs 
Really Simple Syndication Feeds 
About PlusNews 
Donors 
Contact PlusNews 
 
Print report
SOUTHERN AFRICA: IRIN-SA Weekly Round-up 349 for 8 - 14 September 2007

JOHANNESBURG, 14 September 2007 (IRIN) - CONTENTS:

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Limited supplies, biofuel demand push maize prices up
ZIMBABWE: Desperate times bring desperate measures
ZAMBIA: Bibles and condoms
SOUTHERN AFRICA: The effect of migration on HIV rates
SWAZILAND: Tradition as a force against HIV/AIDS
ZAMBIA: Global markets boost incomes of small-scale farmers
SWAZILAND: Water rationing arrives
ZIMBABWE: Mental health disorders on the rise
GLOBAL: Monetised food aid under scrutiny
GLOBAL: Food prices buoyed by biofuel affect aid
MOZAMBIQUE: Religious leaders dampen rising tension





SOUTHERN AFRICA: Limited supplies, biofuel demand push maize prices up

Increased global demand for biofuel has pushed up the already buoyant price of maize in South Africa, forcing aid agencies to procure food from elsewhere to feed an expected more than six million food-insecure people in southern Africa.

After a second consecutive poor maize harvest in South Africa, which usually meets food shortfalls in the region, prices have been high, according to the latest USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-NET). Demand-driven world prices, especially in the USA, where maize is increasingly used to produce ethanol, have also pushed up prices in South Africa, and is expected to keep them high for the rest of the year.

Full report




ZIMBABWE: Desperate times bring desperate measures

A new breed of entrepreneur has evolved in Zimbabwe's ever-deteriorating economy, adapted to take advantage of an environment characterised by food shortages and increasingly scarce basic commodities.

The new professionals are known as 'queuers', who buy goods at discounted prices as a result of forced government price cuts and resell them at a substantial profit on the illegal parallel market.

Full report




ZAMBIA: Bibles and condoms

It is mandatory that Zambia's hotels, lodges and guest houses stock at least two Bibles in each of their rooms, but it is rare to come across condoms or even condom-vending machines, despite many of these establishments being used by commercial sex workers and their clients.

About one in five sexually active people, or 1.6 million of Zambia's population of 10 million, are infected with HIV/AIDS; health activists are advocating that condoms, like Bibles, should be distributed free of charge in hotels and other venues offering commercial accommodation.

Full report




SOUTHERN AFRICA: The effect of migration on HIV rates

Trying to measure the impact of the Zimbabwean exodus on HIV/AIDS rates in the region is so fraught with ifs, buts and maybes that the only reasonable assumption is that, like other migrants, economic migrants may run a higher risk of infection than they would have if they had not left their homes.

The scale of Zimbabwean migration to neighbouring states is disputed, with estimates ranging from more than three million people to a few hundred thousand, making an overall assessment of the actual spike in transference of the disease, if any, in the region difficult to assess, but it is accepted that the act of migration tends to increase HIV/AIDS infections.

Full report




SWAZILAND: Tradition as a force against HIV/AIDS

Circumstance, rather than planning, has placed the battle against HIV/AIDS firmly in the hands of Swaziland's 355 chiefdoms.

The decentralisation strategy has evolved from government's failure to command the fight against the disease, or even deliver healthcare at its urban hospitals, and much less so in rural areas, where four out of five Swazis live.

Full report




ZAMBIA: Global markets boost incomes of small-scale farmers

Struggling with low prices for their produce in the domestic market, a growing number of small-scale farmers in Zambia have managed to turn their lives around by supplying international markets.

Luke Mbewe, chief executive officer of the Zambia Export Growers Association, an umbrella organisation of small-scale and commercial farmers cultivating vegetables and cut flowers, said returns were high for farmers who targeted the international market, especially the European Union (EU).

Full report




SWAZILAND: Water rationing arrives

Swazis have become acquainted with the term "water rationing" as they struggle to cope with one of the longest dry periods in memory.

"Water levels are down nationwide," said Jameson Mkhonta, public relations officer for the Swaziland Water Services Corporation, the parastatal water utility. "The drought ... [has affected the entire country], and not just in the south and east where it is usually dry."

Full report




ZIMBABWE: Mental health disorders on the rise

Zimbabwe's rapid descent into recession, which has seen official inflation rates climb to over 7,600 percent - the world's highest - and unemployment levels of 80 percent, has also seen a steep rise in mental health disorders.

Dr Dickson Chibanda, a psychiatrist formerly employed by Zimbabwe's health ministry, told participants at a recent workshop that 40 percent of the country's about 12 million people, or more than a third of the population, were suffering from poor mental health and he was concerned by the government's lack of national mental health assessment programmes.

Full report




GLOBAL: Monetised food aid under scrutiny

US charity CARE International made headlines last month when it said it would turn down US government aid to sell American food in developing countries. The funds generated by "monetisation" programmes are usually reinvested in other projects.

The US is one of very few countries that sell food aid in recipient countries; most donors give food in kind or supply cash to UN agencies or NGOs for buying food on national or world markets.

Full report




GLOBAL: Food prices buoyed by biofuel affect aid

Maize and wheat prices have shot up to their highest levels since 2000 in the past few months, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), which says an increased demand for biofuel production may keep prices above historic levels for the next 10 years and have an impact on food aid.

"Market prices for these commodities affect food aid," said Merritt Cluff, senior economist in FAO's commodities section. "Since budgets for food aid are largely fixed, and determined as part of a budgeting process, higher prices mean that less can be purchased."

Full report




MOZAMBIQUE: Religious leaders dampen rising tension

Religious leaders in northern Mozambique are making attempts to prevent any possible outbreak of communal violence after three mosques were burnt in a matter of weeks in Lichinga, capital of Niassa Province.

The police are investigating arson attacks on the mosques, one of which was set alight last week. The incidents are highly unusual in Mozambique, where religious tolerance is the norm. A suspect has been arrested.

Full report



Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy, (IRIN) Food Security, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)

[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Print report
FREE Subscriptions
Your e-mail address:


Submit your request
 More on Botswana
25/Sep/2007
AFRICA: Food production to halve by 2020
20/Sep/2007
SOUTHERN AFRICA: A winning recipe for PMTCT but few follow it
12/Sep/2007
GLOBAL: Monetised food aid under scrutiny
12/Sep/2007
SOUTHERN AFRICA: The effect of migration on HIV rates
07/Sep/2007
SOUTHERN AFRICA: IRIN-SA Weekly Round-up 348 for 1 - 7 September 2007
 More on Food Security
03/Oct/2007
ZIMBABWE: Food shortages bite as teachers strike for more pay
02/Oct/2007
ZIMBABWE: Charities lend the elderly a hand
01/Oct/2007
SOMALIA: Living in fear of more floods
01/Oct/2007
MALI: After the deluge the real struggle begins
01/Oct/2007
MALI: Souleymane Diallo, Mali: “If I spend money on rebuilding, what would we live on?”
Back | Home page

Services:  Africa | Asia | Middle East | Radio | Film & TV | Photo | E-mail subscription
Feedback · E-mail Webmaster · IRIN Terms & Conditions · Really Simple Syndication News Feeds · About PlusNews · Bookmark PlusNews · Donors

Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.