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 Thursday 04 October 2007
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SOUTHERN AFRICA: IRIN-SA Weekly Round-up 351 for 22 - 28 September 2007

JOHANNESBURG, 28 September 2007 (IRIN) - CONTENTS:

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Cutting-edge farming methods boost production
ZIMBABWE: Shopping sprees increase tension with the country's neighbours
AFRICA: Food production to halve by 2020
MALAWI: Civil society attacks decision to close parliament
SWAZILAND: Foetuses in a stream highlight plight of women

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Cutting-edge farming methods boost production

While increasingly grim forecasts predict agricultural declines in southern Africa due to climate change, a farming method called Conservation Agriculture (CA) is showing promise for subsistence farmers already struggling with poor food security.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, and an increasing number of non-governmental organisations and regional governments have started promoting CA as an answer to years of conventional farming methods that have left vast areas of soil utterly depleted.

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ZIMBABWE: Shopping sprees increase tension with the country's neighbours

Some of South Africa's working class are blaming the increasing prices of basic commodities on shopping sprees by Zimbabweans, rather than the local single-digit but rising inflation rate.

There is little doubt that Zimbabwe's misfortunes - where inflation is above 6,000 percent and there are shortages of almost everything, including fuel, electricity, potable water, medicines and basic commodities - are a boon for South African shop owners.

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AFRICA: Food production to halve by 2020

Food security in Africa is likely to be "severely compromised" by climate change, with production expected to halve by 2020, according to climate change experts.

The projections are contained in a report launched last week in London by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was followed by an experts' panel discussion. About 25 percent of Africa's population - nearly 200 million people - do not have easy access to water; that figure is expected to jump by another 50 million by 2020 and more than double by the 2050s, according to the report.

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MALAWI: Civil society attacks decision to close parliament

President Bingu wa Mutharika has earned the ire of civil society for not keeping his end of the bargain to discuss floor crossing, a tactic that has strengthened his political arm, now that parliament has approved the national budget.

Mutharika's decision to prorogue parliament soon after the budget was passed was seen as an attempt to stem any move by the opposition, who hold the majority of seats in the 193-seat house, to force the Speaker to table the issue of floor crossing.

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SWAZILAND: Foetuses in a stream highlight plight of women

The discovery of about eighty foetuses in a stream used by a peri-urban community in Swaziland has raised disturbing questions about the desperation of women in a country where unwanted pregnancies are common, abortion is illegal and two-thirds of the population live in poverty.

The first small corpse was found on Tuesday in a stream at Logoba, a community on the outskirts of the Matsapha Industrial Estate outside Manzini. The remaining foetuses were discovered by police, who continued searching the water and surrounding area. Logoba residents made a sweep of their informal shantytown and small farms nearby and evicted sex workers, who were accused of being responsible for the aborted fetuses.

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ZIMBABWE: Rural commuters are going nowhere

Rural commuters in Zimbabwe cannot catch a bus to their nearest clinic or shop anymore as the spiralling economic decline forces many transport operators to shut down their services in the countryside.

Erratic fuel supplies, caused by the lack of foreign exchange to import it in adequate quantities, had also forced operators to reduce the number of buses plying rural routes, leaving villagers unable to access health services, schools and even grocery stores.

Full report

Theme(s): (IRIN) Food Security


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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