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How Imported Crops Contribute To Africa’s Food Crisis – Expert

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Africa is currently facing its worst food crisis in more than 75 years.

With global climate change, a never-seen-before locusts attack in East Africa and drought in the South of the continent, millions of people have been dipped in hunger and starvation.

The influence of war and regional conflicts on the continent has also played its part in leaving many hungry and angry.

South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria and a host of others are all battling against varying levels of starvation.

On Village Square Africa on News Central Television, African agricultural experts, Tim Njagi, a Senior Research Fellow at Tegemeo Institute of Research and Policy, Egerton University, Kenya, and Gerald Masila, Executive Director of the Eastern Africa Grain Council, gave their opinions on the current crisis.

Masila said while climate change played its part in the difficulties being faced in food production on the continent, human-mediated problems stand high and above on the leading causes of hunger in Africa.

He said on many occasions, crops donated to African farmers can’t stand the environmental issues in Africa. Masila added that most of the crops, usually maize are not drought-resistant like indigenous crops.

He also blamed over-focus on crops like maize in the last 30-40 years for the current problems. He said project-minded production, although good, has contributed to the loss of indigenous cultivars.

Njagi said the absence or inadequacy of technology, poor transportation of commodities and problems of preservation and storage techniques are leading causes of the food crisis in Africa.

He also cited under-investment in agriculture by national governments, lack of access to areas, and stifling policies as some of the issues mitigating against the availability of food on the continent.

He called for more investment in research, better improvement in access to locals and helping farmers with advanced technologies to boost their production.

Njagi cited huge gaps in the continent’s production capacity and said there has been no accountability from governments and said they have to be held responsible for the food problems on the continent.

He reiterated that local farmers need to be aware of the modern trends, calling for more involvement of extension officers. He said they can be very important in the areas of information and helping farmers to manage their expectations.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is also expected to help farmers locally, by bringing the cost of production down, advancing the need for trade restrictions to protect and encourage local farmers, according to Njagi.

He called for interaction with policy makers and the need for indigenous knowledge of African problems.

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Somalia Intercepts Smuggled Weapons and Ammunition Days Before Elections

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Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication says investigators have begun investigations into origin of the sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while being smuggled into the country.

The Ministry said the Somali and foreign entities had attempted to illegally import high calibre weapons and ammunition into the country without the knowledge and permission of the government.

“The federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from point of procurement to post distribution.

“It is these existing frameworks in place that has enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries,’’ the ministry said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

However, the ministry did not identify the entities and the quantity of weapons that were intercepted or provide proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the government takes violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilising effects very seriously.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,’’ it said.

The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on Somalia shortly after the nation plunged into civil war 25 years ago.

The statement came hours after fighting erupted in the southern town of Beled Hawo between Jubaland security forces and government forces as both sides sought to wrestle control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

However, the government said its forces managed to repulse the group of militia and managed to recover illegally imported deadly weapons after also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

There are casualties on both sides even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

The Somali government and Jubaland forces previously fought over the control of the town in March 2020.

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11 Die, 14 Injured in Somalia-Kenya Border Fighting

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No fewer than 11 people have died and 14 others injured in heavy fighting that broke out overnight in a Somali town near the Kenyan border.

The incident in Bulo-Hawo town – between Somali forces and those from the state of Jubbaland, northern Somalia – continued till Monday morning.

Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunication in a statement accused Kenya-funded rebels of crossing into the town and attacking federal forces amid rising tensions between the two East Africa neighbours.

Kenya has not yet responded to Somalia’s statement.

Jubbaland vice president, Mohamud Sayid Adan, disclosed that Jubbaland forces stationed outside the town were attacked by what he called forces recently deployed to the region by the government in the capital, Mogadishu.

Both Jubbaland and the federal government have claimed victory.

Somali’s information ministry said federal forces are in control of the town with no fewer than 100 of the suspected rebels surrendering to Somali forces.

Information Minister, Osman Abokor Dubbe, reported that five children were killed and their mother wounded when a mortar round landed on their house.

“Ordinary militias don’t have mortars and missiles,” the minister said. “This is proof that Kenya is arming those rebels.”

Some Somali soldiers had also been wounded but none killed.

Residents say people have begun fleeing the area.

The federal government and Jubbaland’s administration have been engaged in a dispute over the process for elections and control of some regions bordering Kenya.

Somalia last month severed diplomatic relations with Kenya after accusing Nairobi of “blatant interference” in Jubbaland affairs. Kenya denied the accusation.

The regional body, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), recently sent a fact-finding mission to the border but the findings have not been made public.

Kenyan Internal Security Minister Fred Matiangi described Monday’s fighting as “internal to Somalia and has nothing to do with us (Kenya).

“We are not involved in it and none of our forces has crossed the border to go to Somalia,” he told journalists during a joint press conference with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on renewing security agreements.

Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that it had raised its concern about the fighting with the African Union continental body.

“Kenya’s primary concern is that the renewed fighting engenders large-scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and increasingly generates large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya, therefore aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and in the refugee camps in Kenya,” the statement said.

Somalia’s election will hold on February 8, 2021.

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Ugandan Court Rules Against Bobi Wine’s House Arrest

Bobi Wine and his wife Barbra Kyagulanyi, sought unconditional release from house detention following a week-long siege on his home by security.

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The High Court in Kampala has ruled that security forces cannot place presidential challenger Bobi Wine on house arrest.

Bobi Wine and his wife Barbra Kyagulanyi, sought unconditional release from house detention following a week-long siege on his home by security.

The 38-year-old pop star-turned-politician has not been able to leave his home in Magere, Kasangati Town Council after he returned from casting his vote where he ran against long-serving incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.

Ugandan authorities say Bobi Wine can only leave his home on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, under military escort because they fear his presence in public spaces could provoke revolt.

Rebuking authorities for holding the candidate under house arrest following a disputed election, Justice Michael Elubu said in his ruling that Wine’s home is not an appropriate facility for arrest and noted that authorities should charge him for crimes if he threatens public order.

Lawyer George Musisi said “The judge ordered that the state and its agencies should immediately vacate his property and his right to personal liberty should immediately be reinstated,”

Wine’s friends and supporters celebrated the Judge’s pronouncement, it however remains uncertain if authorities will respect the judge’s where similar orders have been ignored in many cases concerning opposition leaders.

Official results show that Museveni won the election with 58% of the vote while Wine had 34%. Wine insists he has evidence to prove that the military subverted popular will by casting ballots for voters and chasing voters away from polling units thereafter.

Wine has accused Museveni of staging a “coup” in the just concluded election urged his supporters to protest against his loss through nonviolent means.

Museveni has dismissed allegations of vote-rigging, calling the election “the most cheating-free” since independence from Britain in 1962.

The January 14 election was marred by pre-election violence resulting in the vehicular blockade, threats to life, death of over fifty citizens, and disruption of opposition political itinerary, campaign as well as an internet blockade that remained in force for five days. Social media sites remain restricted.

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