UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE
Edition #21 25 May 1998
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"Hokoyo Chimbambaira"; here and there. The area is covered with these words. It is a warning for people about the existence of landmines in the fields. Thousands of square meters are marked and about forty members of the landmines clearing crew are busy.Each one in his specific area.
This is Moamba district in the southern province of Maputo. In the past, Moamba was the main supplier of maize, potatoes and vegetables to the city of Maputo. Now the district needs external food aid because agricultural activity is reduced to small areas. All due to the landmines laid during the civil war.
The chief team adviser, Joaquim Almeida, says that the main objective of the job is to make the area free of landmines, to create conditions for the safe return of people to their original homes, and to enable them to work in their fields again without fear.
The number of landmines existing in the area is unknown, but under the programme which began in Moamba in 1995, about four thousand landmines and other devices have been deactivated. The programme has so far spent about US$2.6 million, says Osorio Mateus, the National Coordinator of the Demining Programme.
"The activity is part of Government efforts to ensure the safe return of people to their places of origin and also to allow them to resume socio-economic activities, including agriculture," Mateus said. He said that in the Moamba district there are three teams working using different methods. Manual, mechanical and dogs.
One team is clearing the five kilometres ring surrounding the town of Moamba. The second, combining mechanical and manual methods, has as its work the clearing of the area where power lines are situate,and the third concentrates its efforts in the agricultural area of Sabie, some 40 km from Moamba town. About 160 hectares of farming land in Sabie are now free of landmines and ready to be distributed to both private and family farmers.
"We are happy with the work being carried out here. The conclusion of the programme will not only put a halt to accidents to people but also to animals," added Osorio Mateus
The coordinator of the programme announced that a new project is to begin soon which is aimed at clearing the power line area, from Komatiport at the border with South Africa to Maputo city. A team of 200 men is presently undergoing training to take part in the project under the management of the French demining company CIDEV. Osorio Mateus said the work on the power line will take five to six months. He also said that all the equipment to be used in the project is now in place and that the project will be underway shortly.
Many organizations are participating by providing funds. One of the operators involved is the United Nations Demining Program. The organization, according to Osorio Mateus, has promised to fund the project with an amount of US$3.5 million.
Osorio Mateus says that about 60.000 landmines have been deactivated countrywide since 1993 and said that the annual rate is about 13.000 landmines. "It is quite difficult to estimate the total number of landmines and that is not important for us. Our major preoccupation is to speed up the whole programme so that the demining will not hinder the normal process of economic and social recovery."
He considers the programme one of the government's great challenges and sees the need in this challenge of combining all the existing technologies. He said they intend to use a maximum number of technologies which are in use in other countries combined with others which are only being tested, as well as those where their efficiency has been proved.
A delegation from the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA), visited the country earlier this month, under the UNA-USA's 'Adopt-A-Minefield' scheme. The delegation visited two demining sites in Moamba district. The objective was to collect information about the demining process to enable the mission to seek funds for new demining projects in the country.
A press release distributed by the US embassy in Maputo during this visit indicated that the UNA-USA has developed an innovative mine clearance and mine awareness initiative in the 'Adopt-A-Minefield' programme. It is considered a model of the kind of public-private partnership required to eliminate the scourge of landmines around the world. At the same time, the programme informs Americans about the magnitude of the landmines problem.
Working with the United Nations, UNA-USA is seeking national and international sponsors or parents to adopt active minefields which have been pre-selected by the UN. Sponsors will raise funds in their respective communities to clear their adopted minefield and to return the land back to the local inhabitants and for its then productive use.
UNA-USA specifically designed the 'Adopt-A-Minefield' programme to move beyond the political and policy debates typically associated with banning the use of landmines. The programme focuses specifically on the practical tasks of helping to remove some of the 100 million landmines around the world.
1.RENAMO APPEALS TO EU TO NOT SUPPPORT 'FARCE' OF LOCAL ELECTIONS
In a press release issued last week, Renamo, the major opposition party in Mozambique, once again blamed the Frelimo party for not giving attention to all "rightful" concerns of Renamo on the procedures for the June local elections.
Renamo launched an appeal to the national and international community in order to persuade Frelimo to change its position. "Otherwise it will widen the trench of our differences and jeopardize the peaceful coexistence achieved in 1992," the press release stated.
Dlakama's party launched another appeal to the European Union, asking it to revise its position and not "continue to support this farce which every citizen has already recognized".
This is clearly linked with the recent EU declaration on the continuation of their financial support for the June local elections. The European Union declaration came out about ten days ago, while the United States of America has announced the withdrawal of their support, particularly in the areas where Frelimo has no opposition parties to compete with.
2.GOVERNMENT NO TO POLITICAL INTERFERENCE
Prime Minister, Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi, said recently that the Mozambican government is against any kind of interference in the country's democratization process.
Speaking on Friday 10 May at a weekly press briefing, Dr. Mocumbi launched an appeal to the international community and donors to recognise that the process should not be interfered with.
This declaration by Mr. Mocumbi is linked with the recent position stated by the US government that it would not give the promised support to the local election due to the fact that the majority of the opposition parties, including Renamo, have said they would not participate in the elections because of fraud in the process.
3.SENA RAILWAY ONCE MORE TO CARRY MOATIZE COAL
The Moatize Basin in Tete Province now has around 3 billion tones of coal reserves and a potential of 15 billion tones in reserve coal.
However, since the period of the civil war, the coal of Moatize is not being exploited though some years ago this was one of Mozambique's main export products. Unfortunately, the only viable way of moving the coal to the port of Beira for export was via the Sena Railway which was destroyed during the civil war.
Now, on a recent visit to Tete province, President Chissano said that in the near future Moatize coal will be once again be exported by the Sena Railway, after rehabilitation of the line which is due to start next year.
It is estimated that about one million tones of coal per year could be exported in this way.
4.NEW METHOD BEING TESTED TO FIGHT RED GRASSHOPPER PLAGUE
Mozambique is testing a new method of fighting the Red Grasshopper.
The method uses a type of fungus called METHARRIZIUM SP. The fungus does not have an adverse effect on the environment, unlike that which occurs with chemical products.
According to Sergio Gouveia, National Director for Agriculture, the fungus takes aboutthree days to attack and destroy the Red Grasshopper while the chemical products take 24 hours to do the same job. He said this meant they would continue to use the chemical products, but give more preference to biological methods such as the fungus.
Recently more than 40.000 hectares of crops were lost at Sofal and Manica provinces due to the action of the Red Grasshoppers in the area. Other provinces affected were Tete, Niassa and Nampula.
5. MOZAMBIQUE TO ACHIEVE FOOD STOCK STABILITY - MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE
According to the national authority for Africulture, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mozambique is set to achieve food stock stability . Since 1993 there has been a progressive increase in the security food stock due to the good good harvests that have taken place. With this scenario, government is trying to spread the information to peasant farmers on new sustainable techniques for food conservation. Sergio Gouveia, the National Director for Agriculture, said that by doing using these techniques,peasant farmers would be able to manage their own food reserves and sell their surpluses.
Mozambique has achieved an average of 6% production growth since 1993, creating conditions that make it possible for many people to stop having to live on donations.
Gouveia said that even with the El Nino phenomenon, Mozambique has been realizing good agricultural results since 1993 and that between 2000 and 2001 the country would have achieved food security stability.
Three cities in the Southern Africa region, namely Maputo (Mozambique), Mpaka (Swaziland),and Durban (South Africa), are now linked by a twice weekly train, the LIBOMBOS EXPRESS ( known as Trans LUBOMBO, for in Swaziland and South Africa.
The LIMBOMBO EXPRESS is the first railway passenger service in southern Africa that links three countries in the same day. Trade and tourism are expected to benefit most from the service.
The LIMBOMBOS EXPRESS is a joint initiative by the three countries and will operate for a period of six months when it will be brought up for review as to its viability.
7.JAPAN FINANCES DREDGER FOR PORT OF BEIRA
Japan is to donate an estimated on US$15 million to build a dredger for Beira's port.
Dr. Leonardo Simao, Mozambique's Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Japanese ambassador to Maputo, Asao Tsukahara, recently signed the agreement to build the dredge. It is to be built in Japan and handed over to the Mozambican authorities in 1999
The dredge will make possible the cleaning of Beira's port, which is presently partially blocked. This will make entry for large ships possible without having to wait for high tide as is the case at present. Beira port has the capacity to handle 2.6 million tones of cargo per year but the last time it was cleaned was in 1990. 8.CHINESE BUSINESSMEN SHOW INVESTMENT INTEREST
A group of Chinese business man who visited Mozambique recently said they were 'strongly' interested in investing in Mozambique.
At a meeting with President Chissano, they said that they consider Mozambique a very good market with good conditions in terms of economic potential.
During their stay, the Chinese business man opened the Chinese Trade Centre in Maputo. This will serve the whole southern Africa region.Dong Suwan, leader of the Chinese businessmen, said that they were interested in investing in areas like agriculture, housing and textiles.
President Chissano recently visited Singapore, China and Macau in order to invite Asian businessmen to invest in Mozambique.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 09 Jun 1998 15:10:27 +0200 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #21 Message-ID: <email@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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