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SADC experiences another year of food shortage

Botswana and her neighbours are still to conduct national crop yield assessments while there are already signs that the dry spell is most likely to affect food production in the region again this year.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Food Security Early Warning System Agromet report, observes that October to December 2015 was the driest in several southern parts of the region in Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe although the extent of the impact in each country is yet to be determined.
The report says there has been large decreases in planted area are expected in some areas, as planting windows close. Maize crops in parts of Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe were observed to be highly moisture stressed, and significant rainfall is required to avoid widespread permanent wilting as the rainy season comes to a close.

The Department of Crop Production in the Ministry of Agriculture would not immediately provide information as to what the situation looks like in Botswana.
However, recent reports and qualitative assessments indicate that the SADC region may be facing a difficult year in terms of food crop production.

Crops in some areas are reported to have already reached permanent wilting point. The report notes that dry spell occurred when many crops were in the flowering stage, a time when yields can be significantly reduced by moisture stress. In South Africa farmers are battling the  HYPERLINK "http://www.weathersa.co.za/images/documents/299/CLS-CI-GEN-INFO-109%201%20SA%20Annual%20Total%20Rainfall.pdf" o "South Africa total annual rainfall – South African Weather Service" t "_blank" worst drought on record, which has transformed parts of the country’s agricultural lands into what looks like desert, says Wandile Sihlobo, grains economist at the national farmers’ association Grains SA.

Last week Zimbabwe appealed to local businesses and charities for US$1.5bn in aid to save more than a quarter of the population from starvation due to drought. The Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the government of Zimbabwe requires a total of $1,572,009,953 with effect from February to December 2016.

“Reports indicate that the delayed planting has affected several countries, including Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In some cases the delays are at least 60 days (2 months). The delays may result in reduced yields, as the seasonal cessation of rains can occur before crops have reached maturity. The large delays also result in reduced area planted, as more farmers abandon planting intentions due to the greatly reduced chances of a successful harvest,” reads the report.

The report warns that crop land, rangeland and pasture are likely to have been affected, particularly in those areas where the dryness stretches as far back as December.

South-eastern Angola, much of Botswana, Lesotho, southern Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, appear to be amongst the worst affected in terms of vegetation, according to satellite imagery. Reports indicate approximately 20,000 cattle have died in Swaziland due to effects of the drought, while in Zimbabwe over 8,000 cattle have died.

Regional harvests last season were also badly affected by drought conditions, raising the specter of back-to-back production declines of key cereal crops such as maize.

“In 2015 maize production, accounting for nearly 80  percent of the total cereal output, declined by 27 percent on account of adverse weather,” the Food and Agriculture Organisation said.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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