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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt UN Integrated Regional Information Networks September 20, 2004 Posted to the web September 20, 2004 Johannesburg Malawi s
    Message 1 of 26 , Sep 21, 2004
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      Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt

      UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

      September 20, 2004
      Posted to the web September 20, 2004

      Johannesburg

      Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's existing
      food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be affected
      by poor summer rains.

      The cultivation of winter crops starts soon after the main summer crop
      has been harvested, usually around July, and takes place in areas where
      there is residual moisture after the end of the rainy season, or farmers
      have access to irrigation facilities.

      Due to a poor summer harvest it is estimated that up to 1.6 million
      people will require food assistance up to March 2005, but aid agencies
      have noted that a bumper winter harvest could narrow the existing food
      gap.

      "In the past few years, the government of Malawi has been encouraging
      winter crop production through various means, and this has resulted in a
      steady production increase," the Famine Early Warning Systems Network
      (FEWS NET) said in its latest country report.

      However, the 2003/04 rainfall "was significantly worse than that of
      2002/03, especially in the winter maize producing areas", FEWS NET
      noted. "This poor rainfall would have resulted in relatively less
      residual moisture and water availability, necessary preconditions for
      winter crop production. The general expectation is that winter crop
      production should be lower than last season, especially in the southern
      region, which was the most hit by the dry spells and shortness of the
      rainfall season."

      The National Statistics Office (NSO) has forecast a winter maize
      harvest of around 225,000 mt, slightly higher than the previous year's
      224,000 mt. However, FEWS NET said the NSO forecast was questionable,
      given the poor rainfall this year.

      "Although the coming winter harvest - around October to December -
      would help improve the aggregate national food availability situation,
      the improvements for smallholders in the southern region will be
      short-lived, and a majority of the households will continue to rely on
      the markets for food," FEWS NET commented.

      But the rising cost of staples has limited household access to food.
      "Prices have already started to rise, consistent with predictions of a
      worse than normal [harvest] year ... continued prices increases will
      adversely affect households' ability to purchase food," the report
      warned.

      It will take an estimated 56,000 mt to 83,000 mt of emergency food aid
      to assist the rising number of households in need until the next
      harvest, FEWS NET forecast.


      *****

      Zimbabwe court drops paper case

      A Zimbabwean court has dropped charges against four directors of the
      banned Daily News newspaper.
      The privately-owned paper was shut down a year ago by police under the
      country's tough media laws.

      The magistrate said there was insufficient evidence to show they had
      published the paper illegally.

      But the publication will stay off the news-stands pending a decision by
      the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the media legislation.

      Zimbabwean and international rights groups have condemned the law,
      which compels all journalists and newspapers to be accredited by a
      government-appointed media commission.

      Magistrate Lillian Kudya said the state failed to prove the paper
      intentionally violated the law, as the paper had won court cases
      granting the paper a licence, AFP news agency reported.

      "We are free. We knew justice was going to prevail," said Samuel Nkomo,
      the paper's chief executive after the ruling.

      Launched five years ago, the Daily News was the country's sole
      privately-owned daily paper and was a persistent critic of President
      Robert Mugabe's government.
    • scottgeibel
      Well that s not good news... let s hope that the colorful Autumn leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi s disappointed farmers. ... existing
      Message 2 of 26 , Sep 22, 2004
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        Well that's not good news... let's hope that the colorful Autumn
        leaves and Spring flowers brighten the moods of Malawi's disappointed
        farmers.


        "Christine Chumbler" <cchumble@d...> wrote:

        > Malawi: Winter Maize Harvest in Doubt
        >
        > UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
        >
        > September 20, 2004
        > Posted to the web September 20, 2004
        >
        > Johannesburg
        >
        > Malawi's winter harvest should ordinarily ease the country's
        existing
        > food shortage, but there is concern that the new crop could be
        affected
        > by poor summer rains.
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