53612E CONTAMINATED SOIL USED TO KILL FISH FOR MARKET
Maputo, 14 Jun (AIM) - Residents living in the vicinity of the Muziba irrigation scheme in the district of Nicoadala, in the central province of Zambezia, are selling fish caught using soil contaminated with obsolete pesticides.
According to Samson Cuamba of the national directorate of environmental management, contaminated soil is collected by the fishermen from an area where obsolete pesticides have been disposed. Cuamba warned that this practice is a serious health hazard.
In August the authorities will begin collecting samples for laboratory tests from soil and water suspected of being contaminated with hazardous chemicals.
Eleven areas have already been identified in the provinces Maputo, Gaza, Sofala, Nampula, Zambezia, Cabo Delgado and Niassa.
This initiative comes under the project to mitigate the effects of obsolete pesticides which was launched last year.
In Maputo province three areas have been identified, said Cuamba.
The first is at the waste treatment centre in Matola, where the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) gathered pesticides collected in various parts of the country under a project which took place between 1999 and 2002.
According Cuamba, there is also a suspicion of soil contamination on the premises which used to house the provincial directorate of agriculture in Matola, where obsolete pesticides were buried.
The third suspected area is located in the village of Timanguene, in the district of Magude.
"We also have a delicate situation at the N'guri irrigation scheme in Cabo Delgado province, where we know that pesticides and fertilisers have been dumped in the vicinity of the water source", explained Cuamba, quoted on Thursday's issue of the daily newspaper "Noticias".
Cuamba also mentioned a region in the district of Chokwe, in the southern province of Gaza, where a pesticide spraying airplane crashed two years ago, contaminating the surrounding area. He added that there are reports of soil contamination in the Quimijera irrigation scheme, also in Chokwe.
He continued, in Niassa province there are signs of soil contamination on the premises of the provincial health directorate.
At the port of Nacala, according to Cuamba, the authorities have found two 40-foot containers laden with obsolete pesticides, while in Sofala there are reports of contaminated soil at the offices of the company Entreposto Commercial between Tica and Nhamatanda, due to the uncontrolled disposal of about three tons of pesticides.
Cuamba explained that soil samples will be collected in all these areas to evaluate the severity of the problem.
Two options are being considered to deal with the problem of contaminated soil, and the final decision depends on the laboratory tests.
The first option consists of treating the soil. The second option would be to remove the contaminated soil, which could involve its export to a country which has the facilities for its disposal, or its burial in a dedicated landfill site for hazardous waste like the one in Mavoco, in Maputo province.
51612E CALL TO TREAT ALL HIV POSITIVE PREGNANT WOMEN TO PROTECT CHILDREN
By Almiro Mazive
Washington DC, 14 Jun (AIM) - Mozambique's First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, on Thursday in Washington said that the biggest challenge in protecting the lives of children lies in the need to provide anti-retroviral drug treatments to all pregnant women who are HIV positive, to prevent the vertical transmission of the virus which causes AIDS to their unborn babies.
Maria da Luz Guebuza was appearing on an expert panel addressing new approaches to ending preventable child deaths, alongside the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Margaret Chan.
The panel was part of the high level forum convened by the governments of the United States, India and Ethiopia in collaboration with UNICEF on the theme "Child Survival Call to Action", which is taking place on Thursday and Friday at Georgetown University, in Washington.
"Fortunately, all the countries in southern Africa are already implementing programmes to prevent vertical transmission. But the challenge remains to cover all pregnant women with HIV, to avoid the risk of children being born infected", said Mozambique's First Lady.
Maria da Luz Guebuza explained that in Mozambique much has been done to increase coverage, despite a lack of resources. She pointed out that in 2006 only 14 per cent of HIV positive pregnant women were receiving anti-retroviral drugs to reduce the risk of infecting their babies. This figure has now increased to 66 per cent.
The First Lady made clear that in today's world there is no reason why children should continue to be born with HIV or die at a young age because of preventable illnesses.
Of those children who die below the age of five, the majority of deaths are caused by a small number of problems, mainly preventable and treatable illnesses such as diarrhoea, malaria, malnutrition and neonatal complications.
She added that in Mozambique the programme to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child covers the period from pregnancy to after the birth, including during breastfeeding, and is recognised as a priority in all maternal health initiatives. It is part of efforts to reach the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.
Not only do anti-retroviral drugs reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to babies, but they also keep mothers well and able to look after their children.
The Call to Action challenges the world to reduce child mortality to below 20 child deaths per 1,000 live births in every country by 2035. Reaching this target would save an additional 45 million children's lives between 2010 and 2035, bringing the world closer to the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths.
According to Maria da Luz Guebuza, "we consider this meeting an important opportunity to share our experiences and constraints, successes and challenges, and to learn best practices that are implemented in other countries. This will help us identify innovative ways to improve the care of our children".
She also pointed out that in Mozambique the government has undertaken several actions to reduce child mortality. It has built units to house pregnant women awaiting labour, has developed mobile clinics to increase service coverage, and involved a wide scope of people in caring for the health of women and children.
Currently, Mozambique has a child mortality rate of 97 deaths per 1,000 live births. Although still unacceptably high, the rate has more than halved over the last fifteen years.
52612E CDM TO USE LOCAL RAW MATERIALS IN NEW BEER
Maputo, 14 Jun (AIM) - Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM - Beers of Mozambique), the local subsidiary of the multinational brewing company SAB-Miller, on Thursday announced that it is going to use maize grown in Mozambique as the raw material for its new beer, Chibuku.
CDM has recently signed an agreement with the company ECA to supply maize to its breweries in Maputo and Beira over the next three years.
To begin with, Chibuka will be brewed in a new factory opened last year and it is expected to be on sale next month.
In November CDM launched Impala, a beer based on locally grown cassava, and CDM promises to launch other beers using Mozambican raw materials.
ECA is a Mozambican company marketing produce from small scale farmers in the central province of Manica. It is currently gathering maize from 750 farmers to deliver to CDM.
ECA has been providing support to farmers in the form of seeds, fertilisers and finance to increase production. As a result, productivity has increased to four tonnes of maize per hectare per year.
CDM has taken the strategic decision to use an increasing amount of Mozambican inputs, so that it can contribute to the country's economic development.
Meanwhile, ECA is using the agreement as an opportunity to link farmers with reliable markets paying a reasonable price.
50612E MOZAMBICAN COMPANIES EARN OVER A BILLION US DOLLARS FROM VALE
Maputo, 14 Jun (AIM) - Vale Mocambique, a subsidiary of the Brazilian mining company Vale, says it has spent over a billion US dollars on goods and services from more than 400 Mozambican companies in recent years.
Vale is the largest mining company operating in the Moatize coal basin in the western province of Tete. Mining began in August last year and Vale has already exported over a million tonnes of coal.
Speaking on 4 June at the inauguration of the new coal terminal at the port of Beira, in central Mozambique, Vale's chief executive officer, Murilo Ferreira, said that his company is increasing its use of Mozambican businesses for the provision of goods and services.
"We are working to build a robust network of suppliers in Mozambique able to meet the technological and quality standards demanded by Vale and other major companies", said Ferreira.
He added that Vale will continue to improve its relations with local communities, which will include boosting income generating projects to enable local residents to diversify and achieve financial sustainability.
"This will be based on permanent dialogue with communities and will be in line with government's objectives for growth and economic development", he explained.
The relationship between mining companies and communities was highlighted at the beginning of this year when hundreds of residents resettled by Vale at Cateme, in the district of Moatize, held a number of demonstrations protesting that the houses they were given were shoddily built, with cracks appearing in the walls and leaking roofs.
On 10 January this problem hit the headlines when the residents blocked the Sena railway line, which runs from Moatize to the port of Beira, thus interrupting the movement of Vale's coal trains. The protestors were eventually dispersed by the riot police and 14 alleged ringleaders were arrested.
Since then, Vale in partnership with the Mozambican government has undertaken corrective measures to improve the living conditions of the residents.
In a statement received by AIM, Vale said that it has been carrying out a number of social activities at Cateme, as agreed earlier with the provincial government, which will benefit the affected community.
"This involves investments in public works, health, sport and agriculture, and includes repairs to houses, maintenance on the water supply, agricultural irrigation, expanding the electricity network, constructing a health clinic and improving public transport to Cateme", reads the document.
In addition, working in partnership with the National Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (INEFP), Vale is involved in a training programme for 152 residents of Cateme and another 104 from Moatize. This includes courses on carpentry, sewing, painting and small business management.
With the support of the Provincial Directorate of Labour, the company is also hiring 160 workers from Cateme.
49612E US NAVAL SHIP VISITS MAPUTO
London, 14 Jun (AIM) - The United States naval ship Swift is visiting Maputo on a seven day stay in support of the Africa Partnership Station (APS).
After the ship arrived on Monday, senior officers met with the head of Mozambique's navy, Rear Admiral Lazaro Menete.
The meeting focused on Mozambique's role in the multinational security cooperation initiative known as APS. This is designed to improve maritime safety and security through developing skills in African navies and coast guards. It was launched in response to the growing security threats posed by trafficking and piracy.
US Lieutenant Commander Charles Eaton said on his arrival in Maputo, 'on behalf of the Navy and the Sixth Fleet, we greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit and continue our partnership with Mozambique'.
During their stay, US marines will be running a short training programme for about two dozen of their Mozambicans counterparts. Officers from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) will also be involved in exchanging information.
Swift arrived in Maputo after having departed Durban in South Africa on 7 June. It will make one more stop in Mozambique before sailing on to Tanzania.
This is the ship's second visit to Maputo, having visited previously in February 2010.
48612E TRANSPORT MINISTER TO NEGOTIATE NACALA PORT CONCESSION
Maputo, 13 Jun (AIM) - The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) on Tuesday approved a resolution granting Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula powers to negotiate on behalf of the Mozambican government amendments to the concession for the management of the port of Nacala, in the northern province of Nampula.
As a result, Zucula will have the power to negotiate with the concessionaries the terms for private investment for the rehabilitation, operation and management of port's infrastructure, to safeguard Mozambique's interests in the management of the infrastructure at Nacala.
The port of Nacala is currently under the spotlight because it is seen as the route for the export of coal extracted in Moatize, in the western province of Tete.
Nacala is regarded as the best deep water ports on the east African coast as it can accommodate ships of any size and, unlike the ports at Beira and Maputo, it does not need dredging. Currently it is underused, but with investment it could handle up to 50 million tonnes of coal exports a year.
During the meeting, the Cabinet also discussed an action plan for professional training focused primarily on the country's megaprojects.
Deputy Education Minister with responsibility for Vocational Training, Leda Hugo, explained that "this action plan aims to cover the shortage of skilled labour and to allow a larger number of Mozambicans to take advantage of the existing employment opportunities".
"This action plan, which is embodied in the strategic plan for education, will use the training opportunities available across the country, including those provided by private companies, particularly those associated with megaprojects", said Hugo, cited by the daily newspaper "O Pais".
The Council of Ministers also adopted a resolution ratifying a loan agreement between the Mozambican government and the Exim Bank of China, totalling 14.7 million US dollars to finance a distance learning project.
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