Social enterprise makes bricks from recycled plastics

GULU– In response to the ever-increasing prices of building materials like cement in Uganda, Green Home Transformations, a social enterprise is making eco-interlocking bricks from recycled plastics and sand.

The innovation which also helps in addressing plastics pollution, started two years ago, spearheaded by Bosco Endriko, the founder of Green Home Transformations located in Opwoyomal cell in Laroo-Pece division, Gulu city.

“The idea of interlocking bricks is that we want to make housing affordable in the sense that we don’t use cement,” Endriko said adding that they want to eliminate the carbon footprint of cement from the construction process.

A 50 kilogramme bag of cement increased to Shs 40,000 in May down from Shs 28,000 it was costing in January 2022.

Meanwhile, Green Home Transformations plans with the help of GIZ, a German Development Agency to construct an eco-VIP latrine at Pageya primary School in Gulu city which will act as their proof of work to people interested in using recycled plastic bricks.

“We will use it as a showcase for people to see that out of plastic, we can come out with bricks to construct an affordable house. We reduce the cost of construction by 10 percent,” Endriko said.

A worker at Green Home Transformation recycling plastics for making bricks (Photo by Maya Nyambok).

Endriko explains that they also produce eco pavers and pillars from recycled plastic and sand.

Endriko’s inspiration to recycle plastic into bricks came from the fact that there is a housing deficit in the country and a waste pollution problem.

“I thought about the plastic pollution and housing deficit in Uganda and thought about creating alternatives that people can use,” he said.

600 tonnes of plastics are generated daily in Uganda, according to recent statistics from National Environment Management Authority [NEMA].

The eco interlocking brick is quite big and heavy measuring about kilogrammes and does not break easily during transportation, according to Endriko who works with bio-system engineering students of Gulu University.

Green Home Transformations is partnering with Easy Housing, an organisation based in the Netherlands that sustainably uses timber to construct affordable houses.

Easy Housing says it’s using pillars made by Green Homes Foundation pillars to showcase a plastic foundation, which can be an alternative to the foundation raised using concrete.

A sample of this house has been built in Rhino Camp, Arua district.

Meanwhile, Green Home hopes local governments in Acholi Sub-region will award him contracts to build classrooms and latrines once it moves away from manual production of the interlocking bricks.

‘Our current machine which is manual can produce only six bricks per day. We are looking for money to purchase a better machine at US$ 80,000 to help us scale up our production and quality,” Endriko said.

https://thecooperator.news/gulu-gets-jobs-and-crashes-plastics-problem-via-the-takataka-recycling-group/

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TUI Legacy Awards revitalise hopes of youth in Kiryandongo district

KIRYANDONGO – Over 120 youth under Kigya United Farmers’ Cooperative Society in Kiryandongo district are excited that their investment in quality seeds has produced positive results and are hoping to grow their business further.

The cooperative’s youth in April this year participated in the Legacy Awards organised by The Uhuru Institute for Social Development [TUI], winning Shs 4 million, which they later used to begin a business of their choice.

Kigya United Farmers’ Cooperative Society is an umbrella of 22 primary cooperatives with about 622 active members, majority of whom are engaged in rural agriculture.

The Shs 4mln is an incentive that has re-ignited the agro-investment spirit of the winners that participated in the competition organised mainly for youth belonging to cooperatives in the country.

While talking to theCooperator in Kiryandongo district, the cooperative’s manager Samuel Otai said after the their youth delivered the reward of Shs 4mln, gave them a loan of Shs 1.4mln to make an initial investment of Shs 5.4mln.

“After winning the money, we talked to management of Kigya to lend us Shs. 1.4mln to top up Shs 4mln so that we could buy seeds for our youth farmers.”

Otai said after discussions with a certified agro supplier, they settled for maize seeds, owing to the fact that majority of the members are engaged in grain production, as well as the cooperative.

At the onset of the planting season, Otai says there was a huge influx of youth and other members who wanted to buy the seeds, although the number that wanted to have the seeds and pay after harvest was equally challenging.

“Many of the youth did not have the seeds, neither did they have capital to buy. So we agreed in writing that they would sell their produce to the cooperative, so that we could recover money for the seeds,” said.

“The objective we had as the cooperative was to impact the lives of as many youth as possibly we could. We used this as an opportunity to reach them, but also we used it to recruit more members into the cooperative. Our numbers have been growing,” he adds.

Within one season the group has managed to, directly and indirectly, turn around the fortunes of the youth, whose hopes had been dashed by the long wait for government financial programmes.

Otai, widely regarded as the star that shines in the cooperative, said the involvement of the youth during planning was critical, as they were able to ascertain the critical needs of the group, and the challenges at hand.

“We held several meetings with the youths, but also went to the field to ask them how they would want to be helped. Many recommended that we procure for them seeds, and particularly maize seeds to plant.”

Planning an agro-input outlet

The cooperative envisages a growing entity, especially in a rotational format where several farmers and youth groups in Kiryandongo district would access good quality seeds, increase their harvest and return the business reward to the cooperatives besides exclusively buying the grain from them.

Otai says one of the major challenge faced by the farming community in the area is access to good quality agro-inputs due to the lack of stores.

“Farmers here do not have ready supply of agro-inputs including simple things. We buy our inputs from Masindi town, which makes it quite expensive,” he says.

Otai says the cooperative intends to use the money invested into the seeds business to establish agro-inputs stores in Kigumba and Nyakibaale towns to readily supply the farming community there.

With the majority of the population engaged in farming, agro-inputs investment comes in handy with other services including advisories, training among others.

Otai says farmers have always urged the cooperative to supply them with several inputs, although it is not among the core businesses of the cooperative.

“We want to bring all seeds, agro-inputs, and agrochemicals as demanded by the farming community to help them save but also increase their productivity,” Otai says.

TUI senior staff takes notes as he interacts with the management of Kigya United Farmers’ Cooperative Society at their head office in Kiryandongo (Photo by Ceaser Mukasa).

He told this reporter many of the youths would want to change their livelihood but are bogged down by a lack of knowledge and basic training to profitably run their ventures. He appeals for more training in business and financial management, records keeping, and business projection to skill Cooperative members.

TUI has been running programs to skill youth in cooperatives through mentorship and other basic business skills.

Kigya United Farmers Cooperatives Society is among the many beneficiaries of the programme that has changed lives and business fortunes of cooperators.

Formed on the premise to improve agricultural production in Kiryandongo district, and improving access to markets, the Cooperative has experienced a growing membership belonging to different primary societies.

The cooperative has grown its share capital to at least Shs 77,500,000 with several physical assets including land, buildings, motor cycle among others.

Although the Chairman of the cooperative Tom Tomanya says members’ compliance to loan repayment is still low, he is happy to note that the loan profile of the Society has grown to over Shs 20mln.

“I want to appreciate the fact that our profile is growing, although some members are still slow in responding. This signals growth, trust, and persistence,” he added.

Tomanya meanwhile called for efforts to skill the loans and credit committee of the cooperative to ensure the safety of the cooperative’s funds, and improve decision making.

https://thecooperator.news/cooperators-attend-tuis-youth-leadership-and-entrepreneurship-camp-2022-urged-to-create-wealth/

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Shock as cocaine is found in coffee exports from Panama

MELBOURNE-The Australian Federal Police [AFP] has launched a major investigation after cocaine and another illicit drug were discovered concealed within a shipment of coffee beans in Melbourne.

The AFP launched its investigation this week after Australian Border Force [ABF] officers discovered 200 kilograms of methamphetamine and six kilogrammes of cocaine, both worth US$ 182 million, concealed within a shipment of coffee beans arriving in Melbourne from Panama.

On September 18, 2022, ABF officers in Melbourne x-rayed a container of coffee beans shipped via sea cargo.

The x-rays revealed irregularities, and further investigation revealed substances that tested positive for methamphetamine and cocaine.

The street value of the illicit drugs is estimated to exceed US$ 182 million.

If this shipment of drugs had reached the streets of Australia, this quantity of methamphetamine could have been sold for approximately two million street-level transactions with a total estimated street value of up to US$ 180mln.

The cocaine could have been sold for approximately 30,000 transactions with an estimated total street value of US$ 2,400,000.

The seizure, according to AFP Detective Superintendent Jason McArthur, demonstrates that drug smugglers will use any product or method to import illicit substances into Australia.

Det. Supt. McArthur stated, “This significant seizure, concealed within a shipment of coffee beans, demonstrates that we are one step ahead of these criminal networks.”

“The AFP, along with our law enforcement partners, including our offshore partner agencies working with the AFP’s International Command Network, is committed to protecting Australians from harmful, illicit drug imports and unleashing maximum damage on the criminal environment.”

https://thecooperator.news/global-coffee-exports-gain-slight-increase-says-new-ico-report/

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Shock as cocaine is found in coffee exports from Panama

MELBOURNE-The Australian Federal Police [AFP] has launched a major investigation after cocaine and another illicit drug were discovered concealed within a shipment of coffee beans in Melbourne.

The AFP launched its investigation this week after Australian Border Force [ABF] officers discovered 200 kilograms of methamphetamine and six kilogrammes of cocaine, both worth US$ 182 million, concealed within a shipment of coffee beans arriving in Melbourne from Panama.

On September 18, 2022, ABF officers in Melbourne x-rayed a container of coffee beans shipped via sea cargo.

The x-rays revealed irregularities, and further investigation revealed substances that tested positive for methamphetamine and cocaine.

The street value of the illicit drugs is estimated to exceed US$ 182 million.

If this shipment of drugs had reached the streets of Australia, this quantity of methamphetamine could have been sold for approximately two million street-level transactions with a total estimated street value of up to US$ 180mln.

The cocaine could have been sold for approximately 30,000 transactions with an estimated total street value of US$ 2,400,000.

The seizure, according to AFP Detective Superintendent Jason McArthur, demonstrates that drug smugglers will use any product or method to import illicit substances into Australia.

Det. Supt. McArthur stated, “This significant seizure, concealed within a shipment of coffee beans, demonstrates that we are one step ahead of these criminal networks.”

“The AFP, along with our law enforcement partners, including our offshore partner agencies working with the AFP’s International Command Network, is committed to protecting Australians from harmful, illicit drug imports and unleashing maximum damage on the criminal environment.”

https://thecooperator.news/global-coffee-exports-gain-slight-increase-says-new-ico-report/

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Uganda coffee exports plummet 29 percent in August due to drought

KAMPALA– Uganda’s coffee sub-sector regulator, Uganda Coffee Development Authority [UCDA] reported that the country’s coffee exports fell 28.5 percent year-on-year in August due to a drought that damaged crops in some regions of the country, leading to reduced yields.

UCDA in its August report said the country exported 501,054 60-kg bags of coffee during that month, compared to 700,990 bags exported during the same month in 2021.

UCDA attributed the decline in exports mainly to lower yields this year, which were caused by drought in the majority of regions.

The drought shortened the main harvest season in the country’s central and eastern regions, which reduced yields, according to UCDA. “This led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions and also reduced harvests from Greater Masaka and South-Western regions.”

The coffee exports in August 2022, earned Uganda the much-needed revenue of US$ 71.15 million. “This comprised 456,271 bags of Robusta valued at US$ 60.26mln and 44,783 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 10.89mln,” says UCDA.

By comparing the quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year [August 2021], Robusta decreased by 28.31 percent and 7.65 percent in quantity and value respectively. Arabica exports decreased by 30.60 percent in quantity but increased by 10.59 percent in value.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s coffee exports for 12 months [September 2021- August 2022] totaled 5.93mln bags worth US$ 871.76mln compared to 6.41mln bags worth US$ 607.82mln the previous year [September 2020-August 2021]. This represents a decrease of 7.49 percent in quantity but an increase of 43.43 percent value.

Outlook for September

Coffee exports are projected to be 450,000 bags. The main harvesting period season in Greater Masaka and Southwestern regions is at its tail end. It was affected by a dry spell, especially in Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts. Exporters are likely to draw down their stock levels to fulfill contractual obligations with the buyers.

Global situation

World coffee production for 2022/23 is forecast to reach 175mln bags, which is an increase of 7.8mln bags from the previous year, as Brazil’s Arabica crop enters the one year of the biennial production cycle.

Global consumption is expected to increase by 1.81mln bags to 167mln with the largest increase in European Union, United States, Japan, and Brazil.

World exports are forecast to be higher on gains in Brazil and Indonesia. Ending stocks are expected to be 2.1mln bags higher than last year to 34.7mln bags following last year’s sharp drawdown.

https://thecooperator.news/ucda-and-psfu-partner-to-boost-coffee-subsector/

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Uganda coffee exports plummet 29 percent in August due to drought

KAMPALA– Uganda’s coffee sub-sector regulator, Uganda Coffee Development Authority [UCDA] reported that the country’s coffee exports fell 28.5 percent year-on-year in August due to a drought that damaged crops in some regions of the country, leading to reduced yields.

UCDA in its August report said the country exported 501,054 60-kg bags of coffee during that month, compared to 700,990 bags exported during the same month in 2021.

UCDA attributed the decline in exports mainly to lower yields this year, which were caused by drought in the majority of regions.

The drought shortened the main harvest season in the country’s central and eastern regions, which reduced yields, according to UCDA. “This led to a shorter main harvest season in Central and Eastern regions and also reduced harvests from Greater Masaka and South-Western regions.”

The coffee exports in August 2022, earned Uganda the much-needed revenue of US$ 71.15 million. “This comprised 456,271 bags of Robusta valued at US$ 60.26mln and 44,783 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 10.89mln,” says UCDA.

By comparing the quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year [August 2021], Robusta decreased by 28.31 percent and 7.65 percent in quantity and value respectively. Arabica exports decreased by 30.60 percent in quantity but increased by 10.59 percent in value.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s coffee exports for 12 months [September 2021- August 2022] totaled 5.93mln bags worth US$ 871.76mln compared to 6.41mln bags worth US$ 607.82mln the previous year [September 2020-August 2021]. This represents a decrease of 7.49 percent in quantity but an increase of 43.43 percent value.

Outlook for September

Coffee exports are projected to be 450,000 bags. The main harvesting period season in Greater Masaka and Southwestern regions is at its tail end. It was affected by a dry spell, especially in Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts. Exporters are likely to draw down their stock levels to fulfill contractual obligations with the buyers.

Global situation

World coffee production for 2022/23 is forecast to reach 175mln bags, which is an increase of 7.8mln bags from the previous year, as Brazil’s Arabica crop enters the one year of the biennial production cycle.

Global consumption is expected to increase by 1.81mln bags to 167mln with the largest increase in European Union, United States, Japan, and Brazil.

World exports are forecast to be higher on gains in Brazil and Indonesia. Ending stocks are expected to be 2.1mln bags higher than last year to 34.7mln bags following last year’s sharp drawdown.

https://thecooperator.news/ucda-and-psfu-partner-to-boost-coffee-subsector/

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Tooro dairy cooperative gets Shs 1bln machine for value addition

FORT PORTAL – Tooro Dairy Cooperative Society Limited has received an ultra-high temperature [UHT] machine worth about Shs1 billion, under Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] for value addition.

The cooperative society’s manager, Micheal Kasaija said they requested for the machine in 2019 to enable them to improve their products through value addition.

The machine comes at a time when the cooperative is struggling to improve the quality and life of its dairy products.

“Through value addition, the household income of our farmers in the region is going to improve because we hope to increase milk prices from Shs 1,200 a litre to Shs 1, 500,” he said.

He said with the machine, the dairy plant would be able to preserve milk for between three to six months.

He said the region has been facing a challenge with milk production and sustainability during the dry season.

“We have been struggling to maintain the quality of milk that would last for only three days forcing us to sell it at lower prices to mitigate losses,” he said.

Adding that, “in the dry season, we collect less than 1200 litres of milk daily while in the rainy season, we collect over 3500 litres yet we had limited capacity to preserve the excess milk.”

He encouraged farmers to increase their milk production to sustain the milk supply to their clients.

Tooro Dairy supplies milk to Rwenzori Sub-region despite the fact that the region has low milk production.

Bernard Tibesigwa, the production manager the dairy said the machine has the capacity to process 1,000 litres of milk per hour.

He said with the machine now available, there is no need for refrigeration and they can now market their milk anywhere in the country and outside because it has a long life span.

“For value addition, we shall be able to make yoghurt in large quantity provided we have milk,” he said.

The machine is yet to be put to use because it is still under installation.

OWC is a presidential initiative that was launched in 2013 as an intervention to effectively facilitate national socio-economic transformation with a focus on raising household incomes and wealth creation by transforming subsistence farmers into commercial farmers to end poverty.

http://Tooro dairy cooperative gets Shs 1bln machine for value addition

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Fruit and vegetable farmers in South Sudan reach for global standards

JUBA-In South Sudan, International Trade Centre [ITC] training guides fruit and vegetable farmers as they work to increase their harvests and attain global standards, according to a recent press release.

Small farmers in South Sudan are taking steps towards meeting global food standards, joining cooperatives, and undergoing training in everything from safety to climate-resilient farming techniques.

In the first half of 2022, South Sudan: Jobs Creation and Trade Development Project has focused on fruit and vegetable farmers growing everything from spinach to chillies to citrus.

Under the EU-funded project, 894 small farmers formed 22 cooperatives by July 2022, said Bul John Ajak, ITC’s officer for productivity capacity and job creation. Nearly half the farmers are women.

“Previously there were no cooperatives for fruit and vegetables, only for cereals or other crops,” he said. “Now these new cooperatives have received training in good management and governance. For those that have completed their registration with the government, they now have a path to loans and credit.”

In addition to learning about managing their cooperatives, some 200 farmers in Central Equatoria state received further training from 31 March to 10 April on how to handle their crops after harvest. That included steps from grading and packing to transportation for final delivery to consumers.

In June and July, 445 farmers learned about water and soil conservation, organic practices for fighting pests, and nursery bed management. The trainings included farmers at all ten of the project’s locations, including Gondokoro, Jebe Lado, Juba Na Bari, Kator, Kworijik, Lokiliri, Luri and Rejaf in Central Equatoria State; and Yambio and Anzara in Western Equatoria State.

Meeting global quality standards

While those trainings aimed to increase farmers’ harvests, another series worked to ensure that small businesses meet global standards.

ITC, in collaboration with the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards, organised a five-day workshop in July to mentor trainers how to implement quality management systems.

“The content of the training was awesome, from manufacturing through inspection and testing, packaging and shipping,” said Kenyi John Michael Awuda, of Industrial Compliance and Safety Consultancy Limited.

The 26 trainers in this workshop had already attended sessions on food quality and safety in September 2021.

The latest workshop detailed how to formalise those processes, in line with the most popular global standards, said Kuorwel Kuai Kuorwel, who led the training.

“The idea was to train them to make them advisers to fruit and vegetable producers,” he said. “Now that they have learned how to do this, they should be able to advise the businesses on quality standards.”

“The cooperatives currently serve the local market, but when their goods meet quality standards, they should be able to serve regional and even international markets.”

After that workshop, the ITC led another five-day session on good practices for developing and promoting standards, and for elaboration and enforcement of technical regulations, in July for 27 officers from South Sudan National Bureau of Standards and technical regulatory bodies. Six of the officers were women.

The group pulled from an impressive roster of organizations, including six government ministries, the University of Juba, the Drug and Food Control Authority, and Consumer Protection Association.

https://thecooperator.news/south-sudanese-refugees-establish-own-sacco/

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Misuse of PDM cash: Nwoya RDC orders arrest of officials

NWOYA-Nwoya district officials are in panic after they failed to account for some of the Parish Development Model [PDM] funds disbursed to the district by government and now face arrest.

Christopher Omara, the Nwoya Resident District Commissioner [RDC] said he has ordered the arrest of the officials who have failed to return PDM money in spite of the warning sent earlier to them.

Government disbursed Shs 417 million to the district. However, an investigation last week established that over Shs 208mln was diverted as the implementation of the program commenced.

It was also found out that of Shs 262mln meant for revolving funds, only Shs 104mln was deposited. Shs 99mln was used to pay salaries of parish chiefs instead of Shs 60mln budgeted for this purpose.

The investigation also revealed that of the Shs 49mln allocated for procurement of equipment including computers, no equipment was actually bought.

Some of the affected departments whose officials face arrest include finance and administration, and the former chief administrative officer.

Omara told this reporter that his orders for the arrest of the suspects follow a directive from the line ministry to ensure that the PDM funds are not misused and that officials found to have misappropriated the money be arrested.

“We cannot sit and see money meant to support the community members fight poverty diverted by officials who are paid salaries to work, this is unacceptable,” Omara said.

Gabriel Richard Atama, the Nwoya district chief administrative officer in a letter dated September 13, 2022, gave until September 15, 2022, at the close of the day, for the affected officials to return the funds to the district cashier.

However, according to Omara, no funds were returned by any of the district officials.

Recently, Kitgum district chief administrative officer and other district officials were arrested over mismanagement of the PDM funds.

Under the PDM, from the financial year 2022/23, each parish is expected to receive Shs 100mln revolving funds per year for five years for groups to borrow and engage in income-generating activities.

The PDM SACCOs are in charge of receiving and lending the money to groups at 5 percent per annum as government aims to move the poorest households from subsistence to a money economy.

https://thecooperator.news/pdm-nyowa-officials-tasked-to-refund-over-shs-200mln/

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Over 900 hectares of wetlands in Kwania under attack

KWANIA– About 9,460 hectares of wetlands in Kwania district have been invaded by residents for different activities, according to a recent report.

A recent report released by the Ministry of Water and Environment indicates that out of the estimated 30, 120 hectares of wetlands in Kwania district, only 20,660 hectares are safe.

The report names Chawente, Nambieso, Abongomola, and Atongtidi sub-counties as areas with rampant wetland encroachment.

Leaders say the huge expanses of Kwania wetlands have been degraded by people seeking land for farming. Some sections of the wetlands have been converted into human settlements.

Local experts say wetlands are one of the many natural features that influence 40 percent of rainfall received in Uganda. The encroachment has now exposed residents in Kwania district to adverse climate change effects such as prolonged drought and floods.

Currently, several community members, especially cultivators and cattle keepers have engaged in bitter rows over wetlands.

In Abongomolola Sub-county, residents are up in arms against Joe Olute, a lecturer at All Saints University in Lira, over a wetland they claim he has grabbed for use. However, Olute vehemently denies taking over the wetland.

John Odur, a resident of Abany parish in Abongomola Sub-county says, “There is a lot of insecurity here as a result of a struggle over the wetland. We have nowhere to graze our animals because some people have taken over the wetland for farming. The wetland is owned by the community,” Middy Olal, another resident in the area claimed.

As the saying goes, a man’s strength is determined in times of trouble, Kwania district natural resource officers have taken a move to sensitise the locals to conserve and protect wetlands.

Jimmy Okweny, the district environment officer says the law on how citizens can utilise wetlands is in place.

“The wetland Act 2019 clearly stipulates the regulated activities in wetlands. You are only allowed to graze your animals in wetlands, and collect water for domestic animals. Hunting and fishing are equally allowed. Cultivation, especially growing rice is not allowed,” he said.

Besides sensitisation, Okweny says the district plans to demarcate wetland boundaries to save wetlands from the hands of encroachers.

“We shall ensure that we demarcate wetland boundaries. After the demarcation, we shall make follow up and those who will encroach shall be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.

Denis Amuka, Kwania district lands officer says they have issued an ultimatum of three months for encroachers to evacuate wetlands, warning that those hesitant to leave shall be arrested.

“We have given an ultimatum of three months that will end in November. The encroachers should harvest their crops within this grace period. After that we shall launch an operation to destroy unwanted plantations, arrest and prosecute the encroachers to protect the wetlands,” he said.

Esther Magala, Kwania district forestry officer says, “Have you seen how floods have destroyed several homes and crop gardens in Kwania? Nature speaks, if they fail to listen to nature, nature will come against them,” she told this reporter in an interview.

https://thecooperator.news/govt-partners-with-world-bank-to-restore-wetlands/

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