Farmers demand action against pollution

Farmers in the central province of Manica on 26 July asked the government to take measures against the illegal mining which is polluting the rivers in the region.

The polluted water reaches irrigated fields, the farmers say. It is carrying sludge containing heavy metals, which damages the pumps and poisons the crops. One of the substances used by illegal gold miners is mercury, which is highly toxic.

The farmers called for action against the illegal miners at a meeting with President Filipe Nyusi, in Sussundenga district, on the third day of his working visit to Manica.

The pollution is affecting not only agriculture, but also inland fisheries and the supply of drinking water.

In response, President Nyusi instructed the provincial government, through its directorates of agriculture and mineral resources, and the immigration authorities (since many of the miners are foreigners) to investigate and study possible solutions.

“We don’t have much time”, said the President. “We have to find solutions to this problem”.

During the meeting, the farmers also presented other problems hindering their activities, including difficulties in financing agriculture (which they blamed on the lack of a bank specialising in this area), the low prices for their crops, and the poor state of the access roads to agriculturally productive areas,

Despite these difficulties, the farmers pledged that food security in the province is guaranteed, and that they will continue to work to ensure that there is no hunger in Manica.