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Malawi Suffers Decline in Cotton Production

The Spokesperson of Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture Gracian Lungu has stated that the country’s cotton production will see a 70% decline in 2021 with attendant impacts on the country’s forex.

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Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson, Gracian Lungu, says the country’s cotton production will see a 70% decline in 2021 with attendant impacts on the country’s forex.

In the recently released crop production estimates, production of cotton which is an important cash crop in Malawi is expected to significantly drop from around 65,000 tons last year to 20,000 tons this year. Apart from cotton, legumes will also see a slight decrease in production.

Since 1980’s cotton production has declined largely because of mixing of different grades, polypropylene contamination, limited grading by farmers, low Ginning – Out – turn (GOT) among others.

Lately, the decline in cotton cultivation has been mostly due to inclement weather, usage of low quality and unsuitable seed varieties, low usage of inputs, lack of credit available to farmers, shift from cotton production to other crops because of reduced international pricing and the inefficiencies in the sector.

The study report attributes the drop to last year’s market challenges which were most impacted by pesticides like Jassids, high moisture levels due to heavy rains, and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although Malawi’s estimated production capacity is 600,000 metric tonnes of seed cotton, it couldn’t produce 100,000 metric tonnes of seed cotton despite various government interventions in 2019 its production fell below 20,000 metric tonnes this year.

The state-owned Agriculture Development Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) which had provided inputs, expertise, and markets since 1964 has since shifted focus to other crops like rice, groundnuts, maize, beans, and pigeon peas.  

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Zimbabwe Regains Food Self-Sufficiency After Two Decades

Devastating droughts in Zimbabwe in the past two years cut maize harvest to 900,000 tonnes in 2020, half its annual requirements.

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Due to higher than usual rainfall, Zimbabwe expects to harvest up to 2.8 million tonnes of maize this year, three times the output from 2020.

Presenting the state of preparedness for the 2020/21 harvesting period, Lands and Agriculture Minister, Anxious Masuka on Tuesday told Cabinet Ministers that a bumper harvest was expected following a season of good rains.

He said “An estimated national production of 2.5 to 2.8 million metric tonnes of maize and 360 000 metric tonnes of traditional grains has been based on the promising bumper harvest in 2021”

Zimbabwe endured devastating droughts in the past two years, which cut maize harvest to 900,000 tonnes in 2020, half its annual requirements. Recent rainfall has boosted the country’s dam volumes which will enable farmers to reap more this year, the ministry of information said in a post-cabinet statement.

A Zimbabwe farmer

“For planning purposes, an estimated national production of 2.5 to 2.8 million metric tonnes of maize…has been based on the promising bumper harvest in 2021,” the statement said.

Farmers were expected to deliver 1.8 million tonnes of maize to the state-owned grains company, which has the monopoly to buy maize in Zimbabwe. The economy is projected to rebound after last year’s recession brought on by the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and protracted droughts.

The government has set a producer price of 32,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($381) per tonne for white maize. 

Read also: https://newscentral.africa/zimbabwe-to-spend-133-million-on-maize-subsidies-after-drought/

Before now, Zimbabwe exported an estimated 400 000 metric tonnes of maize annually, which represents 6 percent of Africa’s total output.  

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Nigerian Army Denies Claim on Deserters

Military sources show three majors, two captains and seven lieutenants were among those declared wanted for fleeing the insurgents last month in Borno.

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The Nigerian Army has denied claims making the rounds in the media alleging that over 100 Nigerian troops were reported to have absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa.

Army Public Relations Director Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima stated that “the publication is false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army.”

He further explained that an error emerged from internal memo during a head count before soldiers who retreated rejoined their various units.

“…it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive. Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.”

He reassures the general public and urged citizens to “disregard the story as the subversive intent of the promoters at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of our troops.” 

Troops restored normalcy after fending off, neutralising and fighting to defend the Internally Displaced Persons Camp and United Nations Humanitarian Hub in Dikwa.  

Read also: https://newscentral.africa/nigeria-military-arrests-boko-harams-ieds-maker-in-north-east/

In another development, Bello Useni, a newly recruited soldier on his first posting with the Nigerian army school of armour in Bauchi, has committed. The army private shot himself in the stomach at his duty post, Obienu barracks in Bauchi State, North East Nigeria. There has been no explanation for the soldier’s action.

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Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury Agree to World Title Unification Bout

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Nigerian-born British boxer, Anthony Joshua has reached an agreement with WBC World Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury on a world title unification fight.

Both boxers have agreed to an all-British, mouthwatering pugilistic masterclass with the venue and date still to be decided.

Boxing show promoter, Bob Arum made the disclosure on Wednesday and said as far as he’s concerned there’s nothing stopping both fighters now to lay it all down.

Joshua holds three world titles – the WBO, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles and faces Fury, usually dubbed the finest pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Both boxers have gone on sprees of verbal onslaughts with their fans calling for a fight for years now.

Fury said in the past that the pandemic and logistics were reasons for the delay but with both parties now coming to an agreement, a potential match of great global proportions may finally be happening.

A potential summer date has been slated with June and July being tipped. If the match goes ahead, it will be the first time an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world will emerge since Briton, Lennox Lewis achieved the feat 21 years ago.

Both boxers will get 50% from the match which is reportedly worth more than $300m.

Saudi Arabia has been tipped as potential venue for the match, with Eddie Hearn, AJ’s promoter pointing out that there are little details to be agreed like who appears on the poster first and who gets on the ring first for the bout.

Joshua knocked Bulgarian, Kubrat Pulev out in the 9th round in their December clash and has called for a match once for all with his compatriot, Fury.

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