Desertification is not cheap. It has social, cultural, environmental and of course economic costs to reverse what it destroys.
Former Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, who died this week, aged 95, leaves a mixed and divisive legacy.
In late March Cyclone Idai carved a path of devastation across Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi. It was the deadliest cyclone to hit the region in more than a century, others have even referred to it as “Africa’s Hurricane Katrina.” More than 1,000 people were killed. Many more saw their homes, food crops, and even entire villages washed away.
For subsistence farmer Rogers Hove—who proudly brandishes a worn out letter for his five hectare piece of land he obtained from government following the chaotic land seizures from white commercial farmers over two decades ago—what matters most to him, “is to see my piece of land in my possession”.
It was one of the worst tropical cyclones hit Southern Africa in recent times. Cyclone Idai, which has been characterised by heavy rains and flooding including mudslides in some parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, has left more than 750 dead, with thousands marooned in remote rural areas, whilst others are still unaccounted for. More than 1,5 million people are affected by the cyclone in the region.
Zimbabwe goes to the polls in July for the first general election since the departure of Robert Mugabe, and the jockeying over who will represent the country’s major political parties is in full throttle.
Every year, Amos Chandiringa, 43, a farmer in Nemaire village in Makoni district in northeastern Zimbabwe, laboriously waters his tobacco nursery with a watering can. The toil of the job often leaves him without the energy or time to do other household chores.
With Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa just concluding a 100-day timeline to address what he considered the country’s most pressing issues, which focused on economic revival, human rights activists have their own timeline.
Tapiwa Moyo, 40, religiously leaves her home each day when the first cock crows and joins a throng of women who have taken up artisanal mining in her community.
In Zimbabwe, the bulk of rural communities and urban poor still get their energy supplies from the forests, leading to deforestation and land degradation.
The crowd in the park gave out roars of approval as the next act was announced: Mothusi Bashimane Ndlovu, one of Zimbabwe’s most popular singers and actors, who took to the stage with a small axe in hand.
Robert Mugabe - the world’s oldest head of state - is dead, politically at least.
At the dawn of the millennium, Sheila Mponda, 60, waved goodbye to her four children, who were leaving Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom in search of greener pastures. Mponda had just lost her husband and had been a housewife all her life.
Sixty-seven-year-old Hloniphani Sidingo gives a broad smile while popping out through the gate of a clinic in her village, as she heads home clutching containers of anti-retroviral pills.
Southern African countries have agreed on a multi-pronged plan to increase surveillance and research to contain the fall army worm, which has cut forecast regional maize harvests by up to ten percent, according to a senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) official.
Urban farmer Margaret Gauti Mpofu would do anything to protect the productivity of her land. Healthy soil means she is assured of harvest and enough food and income to look after her family.
The shouts can be heard from a distance as one approaches Domboshawa, 30 kilometres northeast of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare.
Microscopic soil organisms could be an environmentally friendly way to control crop pests and diseases and even protect agriculture against the impacts of climate change, a leading researcher says.
To take his mangoes to Shurugwi, 230 kms south of Harare, requires Edward Madzokere to hire a cart and wake up at dawn. The fruit farmer sells his produce at the nearest “growth point” at Tongogara (the term for areas targeted for development) where the prices are not stable.
As the cock crows, Tambudzai Zimbudzana, 32, is suddenly awakened from sleep. She quickly folds her blankets and strides outside her three-room, sheet iron-roofed house in rural Masvingo.
Dairai Churu, 53, sits with his chin cupped in his palms next to mounds of rubble from his destroyed makeshift home in the Caledonia informal settlement approximately 30 kilometers east of Harare, thanks to the floods that have inundated Zimbabwe since the end of last year.