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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Quick notes

A political marriage in Namibia. The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and the Republican Party (RP) recently merged to and form a single political party, under the theme - "together we do better".

IPS reports on the alleged encouraging signs that Africa's agriculture is set for rapid growth, raising living standards for millions of farmers.

The Economist on why Mozambique's "angry poor" took to the street. More analysis on the same is presented by IRIN on the "urban ignored poor".

Some "analysts" are predicting that Zimbabwe would be thrown into serious political turmoil if Sir Bob of Harare  dies in office. We have previously touched on this here - Musings on A Post Mugabe Zimbabwe.

A new 76-milie road in Katine, north-eastern Uganda, has caused a building and business boom in one of the country's poorest areas.


  1. I doubt this growth in African agriculture also includes Zambia. The Zambian government seems to have no clue as to what they are doing as far as the Agriculture sector is concerned.
    First; they go around the world to attract so called investors to put their money in Zambia's agriculture sector. The investors come in and start growing irrigated wheat at great cost. They produce a bumper crop of 216 000 tonnes only to realize that there is no market for their crop in the country because the government would rather allow millers and other middle men to import wheat from other countries.
    Second, the government in its infinite wisdom distributes fertiliser packs to small scale farmers. At the end of the year a 2.7m tonne maize bumper crop is realised. The FRA dilly dallies in buying the crop because of dubious claims of 'high moisture content'. The lucky few who have delivered their crop to FRA are not paid. Less than two months before the next planting season, 'Hon' Agriculture Minister Peter Daka has 'good news' for the farmers. The government has secured a $140m loan from the Africa Development Bank to enable the FRA to buy maize from farmers.
    Honestly, Zambia is not going anywhere with this lot!

  2. In general, it is not a good idea to produce goods in a country based on reliance on tariffs. The world is moving towards freer trade because this benefits consumers. If wheat farmers want to grow wheat in Zambia, they should do so if they are able to produce it at a cost which is less than world prices.

    For marketing products, the marketing infrastructure needs to be improved. For example, a commodity exchange opened in Ethiopia not long ago:

  3. Kafue 001 which world is moving towards freer markets? Why are the Doha World Trade talks stalled on the issue of agricultural subsidies and trade in agricultural commodities? The USA and Europe have ganged up together and shutting out agricultural produce from developing countries.They are also refusing to stop subsidising their farmers. The wheat that you want Zambia to import is subsidised heavily from originating countries just to find a gullible people like Zambians to buy it. Kafue 001 you should wake up and realise that Free Markets are just an ideal not reality. They do not exist. Ask farmers from the Third world about the barriers they face in exporting any type of food into the USA or Europe.

    Lastly, it is illogical and highly irresponsible to advocate for a policy of imported food depedency in today's world. In 2008 we had the first major food crisis when rice exporters like Vietnam and Thailand suddenly stopped the flow of rice on to the world market because they needed the stock for their populations. This year Russia and Ukraine have also banned Wheat exports due to drought and fires in their countries. Wheat and wheat products have gone up by 22% in the world. There have been riots in in such countries as Mozambique because of the increased cost of bread. There were also food riots in 2008 in a number of countries.

    Kafue 001 my dear I honestly dont see the wisdom of any country to trash and forgo its own food production because of this misplaced belief in the free market. No one my dear can offer you food security unless you produce it yourselves.

  4. Frank,
    Wheat is a global commodity, it does not make sense to put permanent tariffs on it just because in one year a drought somewhere has increased prices. Much better to maintain a stockpile of the commodity and release it on to the market if prices spike. Besides, maize is Zambia's staple food, not wheat.

  5. Kafue 001 Indeed Wheat is a so called Global commodity (sic) just like Maize, Soya, Rice etc that is why the prices spiked at the news of draughts in the two countries in Eastern Europe. It is because these are two of the worlds largest wheat exporters. It is pathetic that you are masquarading as free marketeer and yet you do not have the slightest knowledge of what events can affect the supply of food to your would be food-import dependent country because of events happening in another country. My dear there is no country in the world that premises its food security on other countries.You cannot control the events in other countries. It would be very stupid and shortsighted of any govt to do so.There are two things that all countries strive to be independent of other countries. It is Food and Energy supplies. That is why there has been no agreement at the Doha world trade talks. Not to belabor the point, both Europe and USA are not giving in on the higher tariffs and subsidies that protect their farmers. You sir are advocating the destruction of Zambia's productive capacity just to fulfill your ideological passion for a Free Market. A Free Market should only be based on the principle of reciprocity between the trading nations. Unfortunately the utopia you are so religiously advocating does not exist! Please google the Term Doha trade round and you will see why tariff free trade in agricultural food products does not exist.


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