Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bill Gates vs the Green lobby

fromFrontPageMagazine (a right wing US webpage)

...Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” ,,,“The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”..

earth to greens: it is not an "either/or" question.

You can have factory farms to produce lots of GM food to feed the poor in the cities, while paying farmers to grow their traditional seeds.

If you got rid of the tsetse fly and used modern farming techniques, Africa could feed the world.

But getting rid of the tsetse fly would mean farmers destroying "game reserves" that warm the cockles of the rich western greens (who live in areas where their own wolves, carrier pidgeons and mammoths no longer survive thanks to men).

And I've seen too many TV shows by those who should know better lauding the "natural" tribal lives of the poor: ignoring of course little things like children dying of diarrhea, moms dying in childbirth, and the constant stomach aches from parasite infestation.

Organic products are labor intensive. Are they better? Perhaps, but the harvest is lower than modern methods, so you get less rice.

so although our family grows organic rice and veggies, the dirty little secret is that we sell the products at a price twice that of ordinary rice and veggies; the ordinary farmers are underpriced by Chinese and Vietnamese etc. farmers who do use lots of pesticides and fertilizers and use the best seeds available, and so can underprice local farmers.

there is a lot of money in all of this, as the article points out:
National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.”

Food Crisis set to worsen

from SwRadioAfrica

The food crisis that is threatening to leave millions of Zimbabweans once again facing severe hunger in the coming months is set to worsen, as the country’s remaining commercial farmers continue to come under both physical and legal attack....

Commercials farmers themselves have warned that a failed farming season is on the cards, as a direct result of the state sponsored, ongoing efforts, to drive farmers from their land. Since the formation of the unity government in February there has been an intensified wave of attacks on commercial land owners, by thugs working for top ZANU PF loyalists, all in the name of land ‘reform’.... This year alone, at least 80 farms have been seized, more than 150 farmers have faced prosecution and over sixty thousand farm workers have lost their jobs.

CFU President Deon Theron explained this week that the culprits behind the illegal land seizures are from all walks of state-connected life, including government ministers or related families, army, police and CIO officers and senior businessmen.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Two election support network members arrested

from SWRadioAfrica

...The Zimbabwe Election Support Network staff members, Thulani Ndhlovu and Ndodhana Ndhlovu, were arrested on Wednesday evening in Hwange’s Dete area, for conducting a public outreach workshop allegedly without police clearance. ZESN Board Chairman Tinoziva Bere denied they had conducted an illegal meeting, saying the group had received permission from the local traditional leadership and the district administrator’s office. He said Ndodhana was subsequently released but Thulani is still in police custody and is being charged with contravening a section of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)....

UN official on torture denied entry into Zim

from the ZimbabweMail

Harare - Robert Mugabe's rogue Justice minister who claims to have invited UN rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak to the country has accused the UN official of trying to sow division in the country's shaky unity government. ...

he took the last-minute decision to cancel Nowak's visit and that Nowak's insistence on pressing ahead with the trip was creating "a very bad spirit" between Harare and the UN....

Nowak flew into Harare anyway Wednesday evening on an invitation from Tsvangirai, but was refused entry at the airport and put on a plane back to Johannesburg.

"He (Nowak) should not have come," Chinamasa said.

"He wants to come on the invitation of the prime minister who has announced a partial pull-out from the government,"


From SWRadioAfrica: Deportation of UN official sparks diplomatic problem.

United Nations human rights expert, Manfred Nowak, was prevented from entering Zimbabwe on Wednesday and was deported, after spending the night at the airport, on the orders of ZANU PF.

Nowak had originally been invited by the government, but at the last minute, while he was in Johannesburg on his way to Harare, the invitation was withdrawn, because everyone was ‘too busy with the arrival of the SADC team’. But Prime Minister Tsvangirai sent a personal invitation.

Clarifying the fact that Mr. Tsvangirai has no power in the government at all, this invitation was completely ignored by authorities. On arrival at Harare airport Nowak was detained by security officials and told he had no clearance to enter the country. While he was being detained, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was actually at the airport receiving members of the SADC Troika ministerial team, but neither he, nor the SADC officials, did anything.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tsvangirai, not Obama, deserved the Nobel Peace Prize

from AustinBay on StrategyPage.

"...Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ought to have won the 2009 peace prize, and the fact he didn't is damning. Giants among us like Tsvangirai demonstrate that "peace warrior" is no oxymoron. Since the presidential election of 2008, which Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe stole, Tsvangirai has provided a global lesson in physical courage and long-range vision.

Despite beatings, jail and the death of his wife, he has refused to let Mugabe's "machinery of violence" stall his steady, peaceful Movement for Democratic Change. A prime minister with little political power, Tsvangirai's adroit participation in a "unity government" has prevented (so far) a civil war. A Nobel would have provided protection for him, as well as forwarded his quest for peace. .."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We used to get MNET on our cable system (it disappeared last week ...they are readjusting their channels again).

So one would expect the African film industry to be centered in South Africa, which has had a film industry for years and has produced high quality films that are equal to any Hollywood production, from The Gods must be Crazy to District nine.

But while investigating an unrelated story on the internet, I ran into this article, on Christianity Today, about the film industry in "Nollywood" which produces many low budget DVD films with Christian themes...indeed, half the films are by Christian film studios.

List of films HERE.

The interesting thing is that, unlike Hollywood, which continues to use cameras and film, the locals are making movies using digital cameras and then marketing them directly via DVD.

and the UN claims that Nigeria is the second largest film producer in the world.

According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) survey, Bollywood – as the Mumbai-based film industry is known – produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006. In comparison, Nigeria’s moviemakers, commonly known as Nollywood, came out with 872 productions – all in video format – while the United States produced 485 major films.

BBC article HERE, with feedback saying: We love the films because they mirror our lives, but others saying they lack production values and a decent story.

has photos of Nollywood Stars

this has nothing to do with Zimbabwe, but shows that if prosperity returns, that this is another business that Zim could encourage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Police arrest NGO leaders for "illegal meeting"

from Bloomberg news:

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwean police arrested two officials from the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations for allegedly holding an illegal political meeting.

Dadirai Chikwengo, chairwoman of the organization, and Chief Executive Officer Cephas Zinhumwe were detained at Victoria Falls airport yesterday, Farai Ngirande, the group’s spokesman, said in a phone interview today from the capital, Harare. The group, known as Nango, is an umbrella organization for most of Zimbabwe’s non-governmental bodies.

“Police have accused them of holding an unauthorized political meeting, which is untrue,” Ngirande said, adding that the officials were in the resort town for a scheduled meeting.

Yesterday’s arrests follow a police raid on a Movement for Democratic Change house in Harare on Oct. 24.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zimbabwe's crisis

from AlJazeerah

Zim police raid MDC house

from AlJazeera

...Speaking on Saturday, Biti said: "Last night, armed police numbering over 50 raided this residence on the pretext that they were looking for arms stolen from the police or the army.

"[They] ransacked every room and took a bunch of valuable party material from a room occupied by our organising secretary Morgan Komichi.

"They beat up the wife and sister of the caretaker before they started digging part of the garden ostensibly in search of weapons."...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nestle being pressured again

From SWRadioAfrica

International food giant Nestlé has this week come under growing pressure from groups loyal to Robert Mugabe and his family, to renew its recently severed commercial ties with the First Family....

Last week a group of youths tried to force the Zimbabwe branch of Nestlé to buy more than 20 000 litres milk from Gushongo Estate. It’s understood the group, led by Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his ZANU PF politburo member brother Tongai, tried to force Nestlé staff to offload the milk tanker that had been transported from Gushongo farm. But after a four hour stand off, including intense debate and negotiations with Nestlé Zimbabwe management, the tanker and the ZANU PF youth group were turned away.

A local black empowerment group then lashed out at Nestlé on Wednesday, saying the international group should be forced to sell its Harare branch to local blacks if it refuses to renew its relationship with Mrs Mugabe.//...

Zim faces power shortages

from Bloomberg

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe faces two weeks of “massive” electricity shortages while the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority closes a plant for maintenance, the state-owned Herald said, citing Fullard Gwasira, a Zesa spokesman.

Power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station will be slashed from 750 megawatts to 500 megawatts starting today,

more at article

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MDC activist left for dead

from SWRadioAfrica:

A group numbering 20 youths, led by two well known war veterans named as Mudzamira and Nhongo, visited Mutizhe’s home and said they had ‘come back to finish him off’ after failing to do so in June last year.
MDC MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya, told SW Radio Africa that the gang first ransacked his house and took almost all his clothes and $450 he had in cash after selling two of his cows....

No awards for African leadership

from AlJazeerah:

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which annually hands out a $5 million prize for African good governance, has said it could not find anyone to award this year.

Last year, President Mogae of Botswana won it.

Two Al Jazeerah journalists detained

from the Zimbabwe mail, but no mention of it on Al Jazeerah so far.

The two journalists were first detained at a small police post located at Munhumutapa Building at around 09:00 am before being transferred to Harare Central Police Station.

Witnesses who saw the incident told this reporter that the security detail who detained the two journalists verbally harassed them and accused them of trying to show to the world the gaps created in the cabinet meeting room because of the boycott by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and ministers from his party.

“They (security details) accused the journalists of being agents of regime change and of attempting to show the empty seats in cabinet to the whole world and make an impression that Tsvangirai is the boss in the coalition government,” said the witnesses.

The two journalists were only released at around 11:50 am after the intervention of President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson and the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity George Charamba. Charamba reportedly intervened after officials from Al Jazeera telephoned Charamba to enquire on the detention.

Cholera breaks out again

from the UKTimes

Summary...Some new cases...worries as the summer rainy season starts.

The sewers are not yet fixed, and with government squabbling, few foreign governments want to invest in the infrastructure.

The Zimbabwe Mail has more information on the outbreak

"...A senior Health Ministry official, Gerald Gwinji, told the state-controlled Herald that the five deaths had been recorded from 117 cases in the Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Midlands provinces.

"Most of the cases were recorded ... among religious objectors, who for a long time have been reluctant to seek medical attention," Gwinji said...."

There are some African/Christian cults in Zimbabwe (as there are in other areas of Africa) that rely on faith healing and don't use western medicine.

But of course, even if the deaths are from non treatment, the infection is spread via contaminated water.

Leaders to talk

from Reuters

...Welshman Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister and secretary general of a splinter Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told industrialists that Tsvangirai's decision to disengage from Mugabe ZANU-PF had shaken renewed investor confidence in the country. The MDC boycott has sparked the country's biggest political crisis since the formation of a new administration and while analysts say the decision may not mean the end of the fragile coalition, it will put pressure on regional leaders to act. "I am happy to say that in the last 48 hours the political leadership of the three political parties have resolved that they need to holistically look at the issues that have led to the current situation," Ncube said. "We hope that in the next two to three days there will be a meeting of the three leaders to discuss those issues." Ncube's boss and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara met Mugabe on Monday over the MDC boycott....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Opposition boycotts unity government

from the NYTimes

...“It is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner,” Mr. Tsvangirai said at a news conference in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.The catalyst for this step was the jailing Wednesday of Roy Bennett, Mr. Tsvangirai’s deputy agriculture minister-designate ...

Mr. Tsvangirai laid out a broad array of grievances. He accused Mr. Mugabe’s party, ZANU-PF, of selectively using the law to punish his legislators, putting 16,000 members of its youth militia on the government payroll and remilitarizing the countryside on bases used in last year’s discredited election to organize a campaign of terror against his supporters.

Although he stopped short of quitting the government, Mr. Tsvangirai warned that if the crisis was not resolved and a working relationship restored, he would call for elections supervised by the United Nations.

A former ZANU-PF information minister, Jonathan Moyo, who recently rejoined Mr. Mugabe’s party, said Friday that the M.D.C.’s decision to disengage would reduce the party and the prime minister to political irrelevance. ...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More persecution of MDC

from SWRadioAfrica:

"...Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama pleaded not guilty to charges of contempt of court on the first day of his trial in Harare...

The state alleges that in April this year, Muchadehama unlawfully facilitated ‘the improper release’ of three political detainees, Andrison Manyere from Chikurubi Maximum Prison, as well as Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini who were under hospital detention at the Avenues Clinic.

Mudzingwa is a former aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Chris Dhlamini is the Director of Security for the MDC, whilst Manyere is a freelance journalist. Prior to this, the trio had been in police custody since 2008 following their abduction by state security agents...

then we have:

"...Once again MDC official Roy Bennett has been placed in the firing line, further testing the validity of the Zimbabwe justice system under the power sharing government. On Wednesday Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari delivered a judgment against the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate, committing him to prison pending trial in the High Court,,,.

In 2006 Bennett was accused of plotting to kill Robert Mugabe, he fled the country to South Africa where he was granted refugee status. The MDC official returned to Zimbabwe when the coalition government was formed in 2008, after he had been given assurances by senior officials in the South African government that it was safe for him to return to Zimbabwe. But the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate was arrested shortly after his return to Zimbabwe in February and on the day the new government was sworn in. .."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mugabe cronies dropped by state

From the AP


Deputy Attorney General Prince Machaya told The Associated Press on Sunday that the state will not represent officials being sued by prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight others....

Finance minister issues ultimatum

from AFP

HARARE — Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti vowed on Monday that he would quit if he is asked to return the local dollar which was abandoned as the country fought a losing battle with hyperinflation.....

When it took office the new government abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar and adopted multiple foreign currencies as a measure to curb galloping inflation which forced thrice-daily price increases in some cases, rendering the local currency unusable.

The move saw shops which resembled empty sheds restocking although the foreign currency was hard to come by for the average citizen.

Mugabe hinted that he would ask Biti to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar saying the majority of the people had no access to foreign currency.

Biti said be was reluctant to join the inclusive government.

"I took this job because Mr Tsvangirai asked me to do it," the Herald quoted him as saying.

"Improbable" research looks at the trillion dollar basket

From the UKGuardian

The journal of improbable research usually reports on absurd things in science (for example, last week, a bra that turns into a gas mask won one of their prizes).

So this week's Improbable research column is about Zim's dollar:

Gideon Gono, author of the new book Zimbabwe's Casino Economy – Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges, displays a rare, perhaps unique, kind of scholarly reserve. He is a scholar with a PhD from Atlantic International University. The US-based institution, which has mostly distance-learning courses, proclaims on its website: "Atlantic international university is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognised by the United States secretary of education." And he has reserve, or rather Reserve, with a capital "R". Since December 2003, Gono has been the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank.

Two weeks ago, Gono was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel prize in mathematics. The Ig Nobel citation lauds him for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers – from very small to very big – by having his bank print banknotes with denominations ranging from one cent to 100 trillion dollars.

During 2007 and 2008, Zimbabwe's inflation rate rose past Olympian heights: topping 231m%, by Gono's reckoning; and reaching 89,700,000,000tr%, according to a study done by Dr Steve H Hanke of Johns Hopkins University and the Cato Institute...

Gono modestly shares the credit, writing on the very first page: "I am especially indebted to my principal, President Robert Mugabe."...".

The book is, at heart, a 232-page literary fleshing-out of an 18-word statement issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 21 January 2008: "Blaming the government, the Reserve Bank or the governor all the time is unacceptable and will be met with serious consequences."

Personal update

I live in the rural Philippines, and although our farm and house were not affected by the flooding, many of our friends and neighbors were.

So keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spain to encourage EU Zim dialogue

from AFP

MADRID — Spain on Thursday promised Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai it would promote dialogue between the European Union and Harare during its upcoming EU presidency.

Tsvangirai, who is in Spain to receive a lifetime achievement award, met separately in Madrid with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos....Moratinos also expressed Spain's "strong support for the stabilization process" underway in Zimbabwe "and for the democratic transition led by Tsvangirai himself, who represents the new Zimbabwe and is the hope of the African country's people," the foreign ministry said.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Tsavngirai wins two International awards

from SWRadioAfrica

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai received a prestigious human rights award and a lifetime achievement award in Spain on Thursday. Tsvangirai’s spokesperson James Maridadi told SW Radio Africa from Spain that the International Bar Association has awarded the Prime Minister with their human rights award in recognition of his efforts to advance the cause of human rights in his country. Tsvangirai was also given the International Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the Spanish Foundation Cristóbal Gabarrón, for his fight for peace and democracy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Neocolonialism or new prosperity?

from the Economist, a long article on China, Korea and the Gulf states investing in Africa and poor Asian countries, to grow crops for biofuel or food...

"...If you assume that the land, when developed, will yield roughly two tonnes of grain per hectare (which would be twice the African average but less than that of Europe, America and rich Asia), it would produce 30m-40m tonnes of cereals a year. That is a significant share of the world’s cereals trade of roughly 220m tonnes a year and would be more than enough to meet the appetite for grain imports in the Middle East....

China has set up 11 research stations in Africa to boost yields of staple crops. That is needed: sub-Saharan Africa spends much less than India on agricultural R&D. Even without new seed varieties or fancy drip-feed irrigation, investment should help farmers. One of the biggest constraints on African farming is the inability to borrow money for fertilisers. If new landlords just helped farmers get credit, it would make a big difference.

Yet a certain wariness ought to be maintained. Farming in Africa is hard. It breaks backs and the naive ambitions of outsiders. To judge by the scale of projects so far, the new investors seem to be pinning their hopes on creating technologically sophisticated large farms. These have worked well in Europe and the Americas. Paul Collier of Oxford University says Africa needs them too: “African peasant farming has fallen further and further behind the advancing commercial productivity frontier.”

But alas, the record of large farms in Africa has been poor. Those that have done best are now moving away from staple crops to higher-value things such as flowers and fruit. Mechanised farming schemes that grow staples have often ended with abandoned machinery rusting in the returning bush. Moreover, large farmers are often well-connected and spend more time lobbying for special favours than doing the hard work. ...
The deals produce losers as well as winners. Host governments usually claim that the land they are offering for sale or lease is vacant or owned by the state. That is not always true. “Empty” land often supports herders who graze animals on it. Land may be formally owned by the state but contain people who have farmed it for generations. Their customary rights are recognised locally, but often not accepted in law, or in the terms of a foreign-investment deal....

Monday, October 05, 2009

African tribal customs and rape in the DRC

from IWPR:

First part of article discusses the custom of a widow sleeping with her husband's brother to "get rid" of his spirit.

They then discuss teenaged marriage.
(sorry, but I am not shocked at 15 year olds marrying...some of my friends married at 16 and that was in the US).

They then discuss why men desert their wives for being raped:

Not because the women are unclean, but because the rape proves they are not man enough to protect her, so they discard her in shame.

They then discuss how men who can't afford to pay a bride price will "rape" the virgin so that under tribal law they have to marry her (without having to pay the dowry).

Again, I'm old enough to remember "shot gun weddings", where the couple gets pregnant so their parents have to allow them to marry.

Finally, they discuss the idea that a woman doesn't need an education, and that her duty is in the kitchen and to obey.

But in Africa, since educated girls bring a higher bride price, this may not be the case.

As to teaching girls that her duty is in the kitchen: The best comment on this was by humorist Erma Bombeck, who said that the woman's movement taught women that being a sales clerk in a store was a "higher" calling than bearing and raising a child or being a home maker.

so the article has very little to do with rape per se, and a lot to do with complaining about coerced sex under tribal customs.

China investing in African Agriculture

From the Asian Times:

China's growing appetite for African resources over the last decade is well documented. Indeed, China's massive industrial machine relies on oil from Angola, Sudan, and Nigeria, and minerals from South Africa, Zambia, and Liberia. While China maintains that its trade relationship with Africa is benign, some commentators see China's investment as a resource grab. In 2006, South African president Thabo Mbeki was notably frank when he warned that Africa could fall into a "colonial relationship" with China, leaving Africa "condemned to underdevelopment".

The latest iteration of the Sino-African relationship involves China's burgeoning interest in African agricultural resources...

Between 1995 and 2005, China provided at least US$12.5 billion in aid to Africa, canceled billions of dollars in debt, and constructed new roads, schools, government buildings, stadiums and hospitals across the continent. In return, Africa now supplies a third of China's oil...


China has indeed begun to put down substantial agricultural roots on the African continent. China's investment in Mozambique illustrates both its commitment to the agricultural sector and the diversity of Chinese investment in Africa. Through a series of agreements, China has pledged $800 million to modernize Mozambique's agricultural infrastructure and has financed the building of a dam and canal to bring water to arable land. Additionally, at least 100 Chinese agricultural experts are stationed in several research stations within Mozambique, working with local groups to increase crop yield and otherwise improve the performance of the agricultural sector. .... One estimate from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce puts the number of Chinese experts in Africa at over 1,100 and the number of farm laborers at over 1 million, dispersed throughout 18 countries. These Chinese experts help maintain at least 11 agricultural research stations and no less than 63 agricultural investment projects scattered over southern and eastern Africa....

(The criticism is that they will plant rice and ship it home, not help the African people)

In March 2009, the Chinese Academy of Agriculture (CCA) began a project funded by the Gates Foundation entitled "Green Super Rice for the Resource Poor of Asia and Africa". The project will bring high-yield rice varieties designed to withstand drought, flooding, harsh weather, and various toxins, to seven African countries. Working with several international organizations - including the Africa Rice Center - the CCA estimates that the project will increase rice production by 20% and will help feed 20 million poverty-stricken farmers in participating countries.

The height of irony: While western NGO's promote traditional farming, it is China that just might introduce the green revolution into Africa...

Trying to divert HIV funds for their own priorities

BBC today laments that HIV is "diverting" money from other priorities.

Bunch of nonsense of course. The "clinic next door" lacks equipment but can pay the salary of a physician? Why doesn't the government hire a medical assistant who can do deliveries and give IV and WHO rehydration fluid, and use the difference in salaries to buy supplies? And why are there no supplies (or shall I say: who stole the supplies?)

Then there is the lament: spend the money on safe drinking water.
This was made by a Euroweenie. Fine. Let their own country fund that project...nope, it's easier to criticize someone else.

What this all is about is population control, of course. Look at this: BBC complaining
The UN's special envoy on fighting Aids in Africa has accused the United States of endangering the gains Uganda has made in containing the disease.

Stephen Lewis told the BBC that Uganda - under pressure from Washington - was putting greater emphasis on abstinence to tackle the disease than condoms.

of course, if you bother to read the end of the article, Uganda is spending a lot of money on condoms too...the abstinence emphasis of course means that churches and mosques will cooperate with prevention.

and here is more: Obama will divert HIV funding to population control
Wood said that although President Bush's global health programs -- such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief -- have brought more HIV/AIDS treatment to developing countries than under any other president, spending requirements for abstinence-only education have hampered family planning and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections worldwide.

They are trying to push this on the Philippines: Sex is fine but use a condom...the low HIV rate here will of course baloon as teenagers are encouraged to have premarital sex, of course.

Our barangay chapel just buried a teenager who died at age sixteen of heavy vaginal bleeding from "cancer"...I suspect since she was away from school she was seduced and had an illegal abortion, and died from it.
The PC will say: She should have used a condom (but she probably did...they don't work well in the US for teenagers, so they probably don't work here either).
The real problem: A culture (MTV and US movies) that push promiscuous sex as the norm, and no one to support her when she suffers from her deeds...and of course the guy got off scott free.

I have argued many times that you have to use a person's culture to promote public health.

You don't teach American sex education (give your 15 year old daughter a condom) to pious Muslim/Christian girls, and you don't try to teach sexual abstinence to prostitutes who have no other way to make a living.

But teaching doesn't work when the airways are polluted with promiscuity.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

UK Firm wants Marage (blood diamonds mine) back

from the UKGuardian:

...Aim-listed African Consolidated Resources bought mining rights to the Marange diamond fields in February 2006 but was evicted eight months later. That prompted illegal public mining of the site, followed by a violent and bloody backlash by the Zimbabwean military in which it is alleged 200 people were killed.

After it was evicted, ACR launched a legal battle to challenge the decision and regain control of the 100,000-acre field. Last week, it won its case in the Zimbabwe high court when Justice Charles Hungwe told the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, now in possession of the site, to stop mining the fields, and ordered the power-sharing government to restore ownership to the firm..."

The blood diamond part came after the gov't threw them out, and locals mined the place illegally. But then the government decided they wanted the diamonds

"...The crackdown saw widespread arrests, beatings and killings of anyone suspected of involvement in unsanctioned diamond mining or smuggling. Soldiers threw up a massive cordon around the diamond fields as the military were given free rein in return for wealth and, some say, continued support for the Mugabe regime..."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Harvest may fall short next year

from AFP

Zimbabwe is expected to reap 450,000 tonnes of maize during the next harvest in May, against 1.5 million tonnes this year. The government estimates that the country needs 1.8 million tonnes to feed its people.

Jenrich said small farmers lacked enough fertiliser, seeds and other inputs, but urged authorities to improve their management of the nation's land rather than to rely on handouts to farmers.

The country's power-sharing government said the increased funding would help boost yields, but farmers' unions report that large tracts of land are lying fallow as farmers lacked the means to plant....

Jestina and others sue government

from AP who doesn't allow me to use their information.

The nine people who were arrested and tortured are suing the Zim government for 500 million dollars...hundreds of activists are missing so this is the tip of the iceburg

CNN blows Mugabe Interview



A well respected journalist like Amanpour was expected to go deeper, bring out examples, the horror and scenes that Mugabe cannot deny. She should have avoided narratives of history that are not in dispute but give it to Mugabe in black and white from the perspectives of the majority of Zimbabweans. The interview turned to be a successful Public Relations exercise and godsend for Mugabe. This is because we have heard it all before and Mugabe reinforced his message at a world stage. But the real story of Zimbabwe’s majority rarely finds space and it is one that Mugabe cannot deny nor justify by whatever means or explanation. He can easily explain the land reform on the basis of history, but he cannot explain the kidnapping of Mukoko, the bombing of the Daily News among other many things. The international media will become relevant when it sees the Zimbabwe crisis from this holistic perspective. As for Amanpour we hope she can be better prepared next time.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

South African Group boycotts Nestle

from the UK Telegraph

AfriForum, a civil rights initiative spun out of a mainly Afrikaner trade union, said it was giving Nestle one week in which to announce it would stop buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate.

The Telegraph reported at the weekend that Nestle's Zimbabwean subsidiary is buying up to a million litres a year from the formerly white-owned farm, whose owner was, according to dairymen, forced to sell to the authorities after a campaign of violence.

AfriForum is contacting human rights groups around the world to ask them to join its campaign, and has already launched a website,, on the subject.

My objection is that they are buying from Grace, but this "group" obviously has another agenda.

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