Kenyan Government Gives Indigenous Seeds to Farmers

Published on 10th March 2009

The Government is distributing seeds for indigenous food crops worth Sh650 million according to press reports. The plan to invest in traditional foods is meant to cushion farmers from adverse weather patterns.

Speaking after he flagged off trucks carrying the seeds (green gram, cow pea, white sorghum and common bean seeds) in Nairobi late last week, Agriculture Minister William Ruto said the Government had embarked on developing good quality traditional seed crops to enhance food security. Production of indigenous food crops has declined over the years due to lack of planting materials, low interest by seed companies and changes in eating habits, yet they are known to cope well in dry weather.

Ruto said that as efforts are made to enhance production of maize and other crops that form the staple food of Kenya, it is important to expand the base and include foods like cassava, sweet potato, cowpeas, sorghum, millet and bean seeds. This is to take off pressure from maize production.

U.S. Company Signs $325 Million Gas-to-Power Deal with Rwanda

East African Business Week has reported that CountourGlobal, an American firm, has signed a 25-year, US$325 million gas-to-power deal with Rwanda. The deal is to generate100 Megawatts of electricity from methane gas in Lake Kivu, Western Rwanda. The gas concession and power purchase agreements signed in Kigali on March 2 after 17 months of negotiations, allow the firm to start extraction and processing of the gas into electricity and to channel it into the national power grid. The government, through its power and water distribution company, Eletrogaz, will be selling the power to the end user, and paying back ContourGlobal. The deal was signed by Finance and Economic Planning Minister, James Musoni and Minister of State for Energy and Water, Albert Butare and ContourGlobal's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Joseph Brandt, in Kigali.

House Prices to Decline in South Africa

The property market is expected to suffer even more, with prices expected to decline further before recovering early next year following banks tightening lending and increasing the deposit on home loans. The barometer index of ooba, formerly MortgageSA, showed that annual house prices fell a further 0, 7% last month with the average purchase price at R827553 compared with R833461 a year ago. According to the Standard Bank residential property report released last week, the National Credit Act's tightening of the lending criteria is making getting finance tougher.

Nigerian Govt Struggling to Guarantee Safety of Medicines

In 2008, as many as a thousand children were hospitalised with diarrhoea and vomiting after taking "My Pikin" teething syrup. At least 84 children are known to have died according to IRIN. Investigations by Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) found the syrup, whose name means "my baby" in Nigerian pidgin English, contained diethylene glycol. Kola Okunola, the chief executive officer of Barewa Pharmaceutical Limited, manufacturer of the syrup, was arraigned on a six-count charge relating to manufacturing adulterated drugs on Mar. 5. The three pleaded guilty and have been remanded at the Ikoyi prison in Lagos pending trial of the case. Njoku Bright, whose 14-month old daughter died on Nov. 28, 2008 after taking the syrup, said that his daughter died due to the negligence of those responsible for preventing sales of fake and adulterated products.

Somali Rebels Vow to Attack Peace Keepers

The chairman of a recently-formed rebel alliance in Somalia has condemned the country's new government as an instrument of the West, according to Garowe Radio. Dr. Omar Iman, chairman of the Party of Islam rebel faction, told a Sunday press conference in the capital Mogadishu that they will continue attacks against the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM). "There is no government we recognize in Somalia, but the government created in Djibouti is an instrument of American interests," said Sheikh Iman, who is a highly educated Islamist politician. Party of Islam rebels were behind two days of battles in late February that killed upwards of 50 people and attracted condemnation from Mogadishu's community.






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