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HARARE, Zimbabwe (PAMACC News) - Elliot Nzarayebani throws a lump of soil violently in a small dam of dirty water near Gutaurare Business Centre in eastern Zimbabwe; he shakes his head as a swarm of mosquito buzz off the edges of the pond. Sadly however, it was in the middle of June, one of the coldest months on Zimbabwe’s calendar; a month when mosquitoes are not commonly seen in this part of the country. “You see we still have mosquitoes even in the middle of winter,” Nzarayebani said.And a bite from bloodsucking female mosquito transmits a number of serious diseases, including the deadly malaria, chikungunya, dengue fever,West Nile virus and Zika virus among others. In this part of the country, it was rare to see mosquitoes in winter; but not anymore. And villagers are left at their wit’s ends as they don’t know why mosquitoes are now thriving in the winter temperatures.Nzarayebani, who is a volunteer health worker in this area said local people were now encouraged to sleep under insecticidal mosquito nets even in winter. “We have attended to many cases of malaria this past rainy season and our fear is that we will continue to see more cases even in winter. Times are changing. We don’t know whether the mosquitoes are now resistant to the cold weather or our winters are no longer as cold as they were before,” he said. “But the government is working hard to curb mosquito through various programmes including indoor residual house spraying in this part of the country”. And in the city of Mutare, one resident Desire Zivanai Jongwe, vented his anger at mosquitoes on Facebook.“Mosquitoes in Mutare resisting this cold weather; thought mosquitoes are for summer only,” Jongwe posted on his Facebook timeline. And many people in Zimbabwe are now asking why there are mosquitoes even in winter.Experts have proffered explanations for the And according to Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Childcare a total of 170 897 malaria cases were in the first 15 weeks this year up from 108 788 during the same period in 2016 with 116 deaths. And health experts said half of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people are living in areas where malaria was endemic. A study published by the journal, BioMed Central revealed that the advent of climate change, especially increases in temperature, threatens to complicate the situation by extending the geographical distribution of malaria globally, in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa. The report said insecticide residual spraying has been documented as an effective way to control malaria and has been adopted globally by the WHO and national governments. However, the report added, both insecticide resistance and climate change threaten to reverse the progress made by insecticide residual spraying in malaria control. “Resistance has been reported in all four classes of insecticides approved by the WHO for vector control intervention,” the report said. “Variability of environmental temperature is suspected to complicate the situation through alteration in the genetic structure, and enzyme and protein profiles of mosquitoes”.…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The private sector has been urged to collaborate with the public sector and civil society organisations to explore climate change related opportunities and seize them in the fight against the phenomenon. “All we need to do, is to look at climate change from a common lens, identify where the problems are, and convert them into opportunities,” John Kioli, the Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group told a preparatory meeting ahead of the forthcoming Conference of Parties on climate change (COP 23).Dimitris Tsitsiragos, the Vice President of Global Client Services at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, also agrees that climate change is creating opportunities for companies willing to innovate, pointing to report by IFC, which found that Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa could support up to $1 trillion in climate-related investments by 2020.Tsitsiragos also refers to the massive solar power project in Morocco, where the private sector is playing a key role in the construction of a 510-megawatt solar plant in a desert with a capacity to provide power to 1.1 million people. The project, worth $2.6 billion, could help turn the North African kingdom into a renewable energy powerhouse and serve as a model for future public-private partnerships. In Kenya, the Lake Turkana Wind Power plant is another example of a private sector investment in green energy. Once operational, the wind farm will provide 310MW of reliable, low cost energy to Kenya’s national grid which is approximately 15 percent of the country’s installed capacity.“We can explore so many other opportunities related to climate change,” said Kioli.Another example is the M-KOPA Solar Company in Kenya, which sells solar home systems on an affordable mobile money payment plan, with an initial $35 deposit, followed by 365 payments of 45 cents daily. After completing the payment package, customers own a world-class solar home system, with multiple lights, phone charging and a radio.During the Pre-COP workshop in Nairobi, Kioli further urged Kenya’s civil society organisations on climate change, the government delegation and the private sector to unite and talk with one voice as the country joins other global nations for the next set of negotiations on climate change in Bonn, Germany. “This is a common problem that cuts across all sectors, and the only way forward as a country, is to have one common position that can be accepted by the African Group of Negotiators,” he saidSo far, Kenya is committed to reducing total greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent, come the year 2030. However, representatives from the civil society observed that there must be a predictable source of income, hence the reason why all players must stay together ahead of the negotiations.“We cannot just wait for the $100 billion commitment by the annex-one countries. We must also seek for alternative sources of funding right at the country level, and from development banks,” said Benson Kibiti from Caritas Kenya, representing the civil society.Industrialised countries have already committed themselves to “mobilising…
MARALAL, Kenya (PAMACC News) - The United Nations has called on the international community to support drought response in Kenya to a tune of $27 million (Sh2.7 billion), as the Kenya Red Cross begin giving emergency feeds to vulnerable livestock animals in the north.“It has not been business as usual for some residents in the northern part of the country,” said Wilfred Kinyua, the Samburu County Commissioner. “In the past one week, four people have been killed in this county as they tried to search for pastures in the neigbouring communities that have received some rainfall,” he told the PAMACC News in an interview at his Maralal office on September 28. Though many parts of the country have been enjoying a prolonged short rainy season for the past two months, arid and semi arid counties especially in the northern part of the country are yet to see a single drop for three years in a row, prompting humanitarian organisations to change strategy for drought response.For the past eight weeks towards the end of September, the Kenya Red Cross in collaboration with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have been intervening in Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera, Garissa, Tana River and Turkana counties, where they have been buying animals from those who have excess as a way of de-stocking, and using meat from those animals as food aid for the most vulnerable households on weekly basis.In the same period, the two organisations have been providing routine livestock feed inputs and veterinary drugs to a total of 1,210 very vulnerable households in all the six counties, with a total of 10,800 animals receiving animal health services. “This is a very new approach, where we decided to include vulnerable livestock animals in our emergency aid programme so that they can continue providing livelihoods to hard hit communities in the entire drought stricken six counties in the north,” said Dr Joseph Mathooko, the Field Coordinator/Technical Officer (livestock) at the UN FAO. Though the eight week emergency programme has come to an end, the UN insists that there is need for more interventions to save lives and livelihoods for the remaining months in 2017.“Most urgently, there is need for $12.7 million (Sh1.27billion) for purchase and distribution of hay and concentrates to rescue vulnerable animals owned by the most poor, and also for fodder production,” said Piers Simpkin the Head - Livestock /animal health and production sector at FAO. “There is further need for $7.2 million (Sh720 million) for livestock offtake and distribution of meat as food rations to the vulnerable population,” he said.According to a statement released early this month by World Vision International, drought in north and eastern Kenya is already affecting 3.4 million people who require food assistance and clean water, with more than 420,000 children requiring urgent treatment to address acute malnutrition, with 83,000 struggling with severe acute malnutrition.“The climate is truly changing, because since my childhood, it has never come to this level where even animals have to receive aid as well,” said…
PENJA, Cameroon (PAMACC News) - Andrew Kombe in Penja village happily combs his 4-hectare Penja Pepper farm, discarding unwanted weeds and clipping off parasitic plants. For the 49 year-old farmer, the health and quality of his new climate friendly crop are of prime importance following a disappointing slump in prices of the traditional cash crop in the area, coffee and cocoa, blamed partly on extreme weather. “I have to work hard to reap good yields and make maximum gains from my new crop,” he PAMACC News Agency. Coffee and Cocoa farmers across Cameroon say they have been facing a bleak future, amid heavy rains and biting drought that has taken its toll on these traditional cash crops and reverse the gains since 2013.For the past five years, Kombe and his family have incurred pain and hardship due to dwindling harvest and income from his coffee farm. Not anymore. The farmers say the special white and black pepper dubbed Penja Pepper, a more extreme climate-tolerant cash crop is holding out the hope of much-needed relief for thousands of farmers in the region. “We are left with no choice than switch to Penja Pepper. Now with the Pepper farming, I can raise enough money to feed my family and send my kids to school,” Kombe says. Afraid of continuously reaping poor harvest and paltry income from coffee and cocoa, many more farmers in Penja and neighboring villages both in the Southwest and Littoral regions in Cameroon are increasingly switching to the more paying, reliable and climate friendly Penja Pepper agriculture officials say. “The farmers now prefer to concentrate their efforts on Penja Pepper that thrives well in the region,” says Amos Ngolle, agriculture technician at the divisional delegation of agriculture in the Moungo division. Grown on the flanks of the Kupemuanenguba Mountain,the Penja Pepper has since gained national and international fame after the Penja Pepper Farmers Association,PPFA, with support from French Development Agency, sought and obtained in 2013 the certification of their product from the African Intellectually Property Organization. Farmers of the association say the certification has significantly transformed their lives and the economy of the region, attracting other farmers whose traditional cash crops are threatened by extreme weather. “Growing Penja Pepper has now become the attraction of farmers in the region,” says Emmanuel Nzenewo, PPFA Executive Secretary. The farmers blame the cyclical uncertainties on coffee and cocoa not only to climate but also to pests and diseases that is bringing heavy losses. Losses from diseases and pests claimed between 30 and 40 percent of Cameroon´s harvest in the 2014-15 season, according to the National Cocoa and Coffee Board, which regulates cocoa and coffee production. A slump of more than one third in the prices paid for both coffee and cocoa beans by exporters, following a downward trend in prices on the international market in the past two years has made the situation of farmers even more perilous.According to government data, coffee yields for the 2015-2016 season stood at just over 16,000…
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