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FAO, EU join hands with Government to strengthen Zimbabwe's livestock sector regulations and strategies for improved production and productivity – Africanews English

Zimbabwe’s livestock sector players met to review and validate the national tick borne diseases control strategy and animal health regulations. The three-day stakeholders’ validation workshop was held in Bulawayo from 5 to 7 October 2021. The workshop brought together more than 50 representatives of all key stakeholders in the southern region livestock sector from both the public and private sector to express their views for inclusion in three livestock disease management policy documents that will be forwarded to Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development (MoLAFWRD) for consideration and adoption.

In Zimbabwe, the livestock sector is positioned to take a key role in the current national inclusive transformation agenda towards attainment of vision 2030. About 90 percent of the national herd is held by the small holder communal sector yet growth of the sector is currently being stifled by high prevalence of a variety of livestock diseases, particularly tick borne diseases and face serious threats from emerging diseases such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). The presence of these diseases and the perceived risk from the emerging diseases that have potential to decimate the sector have become a major stumbling block for entry into local, regional and international markets hence the need for improved sector regulation for improved animal health and food safety.

“The Transforming Zimbabwe’s Animal Health and Food Safety Systems for the Future Project (SAFE) is being implemented by FAO and GoZ as part of the European Union (EU) funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Program (ZAGP). The project has developed three new regulations prioritized under the animal health act and revised four existing regulations that have been identified to be key in facilitating unlocking the value of livestock in the smallholder sector and facilitate market entry,” said Basil Mugweni, SAFE Project Manager in a keynote address speaking on behalf of Patrice Talla, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa and Representative to Zimbabwe.

“The project has also developed a tick-borne disease control strategy designed to tame the current spike in tick-borne diseases that has been on the upward trend for the past three or so years and has wiped household herds in some parts of the country. The tick-borne epidemic is depriving many small holder farmers of their major source of livelihood and major source of drought power for crop production,” Mugweni added.

In 2019, FAO received a grant from the EU, to implement the SAFE project under the ZAGP. The overall objective of the SAFE project is to transform these systems for improved livestock productivity, food and consumer safety and market access. To achieve this objective, the project supports formulation and updating of national strategies and regulations for creation of conducive livestock production environment.

Under ZAGP, the SAFE project is also creating functional multi stakeholder platforms for coordination, collaboration, advocacy and support for efficient revenue generation and utilization by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS). The project is currently collaborating with the DVS and AGRITEX to establish a functional livestock business forum to strengthen the organization and coordination of value chain actors.

The workshop also witnessed launching the Livestock Business Forum (LBF), Southern Region Chapter, which is also a deliverable of the SAFE project. The LBF is a grass roots discussion platform being established by the project meant to facilitate grass roots policy advocacy and channelling of views upwards to policy makers. The LBF is also meant to facilitate community ownership of the policy documents and facilitate implementation and compliance.

The workshop was the first of two stakeholder validation workshops to present these important policy documents to key stakeholders in the southern region of the country covering Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo and Midlands provinces, to capture their views before they are finalised for adoption and implementation. The second validation workshop will be held in Harare from 19 to 21 October 2021 to cover stakeholders in the other four provinces of Mash East, Mash West, Mash Central and Manicaland.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.

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'Mthuli must present people-centric budget' – NewsDay


FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube has been urged to come up with a people-centric 2022 National Budget and move away from past practices where the Defence ministry got the lion’s share at the expense of social services ministries.

This came out during parliamentary public hearings on the 2022 National Budget.

Participants said Ncube should prioritise social services such as health and education to enable the country to meet international budgetary allocation benchmarks such as 15% for health in line with Abuja Declaration and 20% for the education sector.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) said given the economic constraints in the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, priority should be given to provision of water and sanitation.

This year, Ncube allocated US$65 million of the US$5,14 billion national budget towards social services, which was a measly 1,30%. Zimcodd said social services can no longer be ignored given that a number of people in the country were slipping into extreme poverty.

“Although the situation is expected to ease off in 2021 and 2022, mainly due to better harvests, the slow recovery of job losses will continue to haunt the nation. Citizens have called for more attention to critical areas, and that government should desist from allocating a significant chunk of the national budget to ministries such as Defence as has been the norm, while failing to meet the international budget allocation benchmarks in ministries such as Health and Education, Infrastructure and social services.”

In the previous budget, Treasury dismally failed to offer social safety nets for women, with the Women Affairs ministry getting a paltry 0,512% allocation to cater for 52% of the population in the country, which are women.

In the 2021 budget, the Youth, Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture ministry got a paltry 0,818% allocation (less than 1% of the national budget) and yet the youth constitute 67% of the country’s population.

“It is crucial to reflect over how government will meet both the pressing and immediate demands for improved service delivery while equally putting attention on key economic sectors which should anchor growth and use the gains thereof to reinforce economic resilience going forward.”

Zimcodd said it was worrying that government continued to boast of budget surpluses when citizens were sinking deeper into poverty.

“This extinguishes trust that the budget will ever address fundamental challenges because of government’s inability to accept the current dire economic reality that most of the citizens are living under,” Zimcodd said.

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Govt exposed over COVID-19 vaccines – NewsDay


MEMBERS of the public who were vaccinated with the first jab of the Indian Covaxin COVID-19 jab and failed to get the second dose might be forced to restart the vaccination exercise using Chinese Sinovac or Sinopharm doses.

The development comes at a time when neighbouring South Africa’s drugs regulator South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) on Monday announced that it was not approving an emergency use application for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 shot for now, citing concerns about its safety for people at risk of HIV.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have approved the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.  Russian mining firm, ALROSA, in June donated 25 000 doses of the vaccine and promised an additional 25 000 within months.

But SAHPRA said it had asked for data demonstrating that Sputnik V was safe in settings with high HIV prevalence, but that it had not received enough information to establish that.

“SAHPRA resolved that the … (emergency) application for Sputnik V … not be approved at this time. SAHPRA is concerned that use of the Sputnik V vaccine in … a setting of a high HIV prevalence and incidence may increase the risk of vaccinated males acquiring HIV,” the statement read.

In March this year, Zimbabwe got delivery of more than 35 000 doses of the Covaxin shot which was donated by the Indian government. However, government failed to acquire the second dose, blaming it on logistical problems at the height of the COVID-19 third wave that hit India in May and June this year.

Yesterday, Health deputy minister John Mangwiro confirmed that the country had failed to secure second jabs of the Covaxin, but sought to assure panicky citizens that government did not expect any health complications for taking another vaccine.

Mangwiro said those affected could restart the inoculation exercise using Chinese vaccines.

“Those who failed to get the second Covaxin dose should go to their nearest clinics and get inoculated. They can either get Sinopharm or Sinovac. It’s known that we follow science. There is no danger to their lives. They can also opt to restart the process and receive both the first and second doses of either Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines,” Mangwiro said.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights secretary Norman Matara said: “Obviously, we cannot tell if there are any complications or not. We don’t have any data to that effect. We have had other vaccines mixed and there were no complications.  So we hope it will be the same with this one (Covaxin). It also points to inefficiency and a system that is weak as well as poor planning on government’s part.”

Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said restarting the vaccination process was unlikely to cause health complications as the Covaxin jab worked in the same manner as Sinovac and Sinopharm.

“Given the long interval since the first dose, it is prudent to restart the process. Of course, people should quickly report to the Health ministry in the unlikely event of adverse effects,” Nyaguse said.

Health expert Cletos Masiya said since it was a donation, government should have purchased the second dose.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said: “It is sad and an unnecessary inconvenience for the government to be urging the people who had willingly come forward to get vaccinated to restart the vaccination process due to poor planning on the part of government without even offering an apology to the affected citizens.”

He said this would result in distrust, adding that it was high time Zimbabwe seriously considered using single dose vaccines.

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Violent Teacher In Court, Blames Student Assault On Stress – New

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By Staff Reporter

THE Harare teacher, Talent Chingwaru, who was arrested last week for assaulting a student appeared in court Saturday and pleaded guilty to the charge.

Chingwaru (29), a mathematics teacher at Harare Einstein Tuition Centre told Magistrate Judith Taruvinga he assaulted the student as he was emotionally stressed due to a disturbing toothache.

He will appear in court this Monday for sentencing.

Prosecutor Shambadzeni Fungura told the court the state was waiting for a medical affidavit to ascertain the level of injuries sustained by the student when he was assaulted last Thursday.

In a video circulating on social media platforms, Chingwaru is seen assaulting the student with a belt, open hands, and head-butting him.

According to the state, the student, in ‘A’ Level was found by Chingwaru watching a movie in an ‘O’ Level class during lesson time. Chingwaru ordered him to go back to his class.

However, the student went to a biology classroom and where he later met Chingwaru again. The teacher confronted him resulting in a heated exchange of words before Chingwaru assaulted the student.

Chingwaru was represented by Advocate Joshua Chirambwe instructed by Mukudzei Moyo

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