Shurugwi – Farmers in Shurugwi have called for the enactment of the Mines and Minerals amendment bill that will force miners to respect farmers’ rights.
The farmers made this call during a meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development. The committee is chaired by Shurugwi South MP, Edmond Mukaratigwa.
The Committee was accompanied to the meeting by the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Settlement chaired by Mberengwa North Mp Tafanana Zhou.
The farmers complained against rampant mining in Shurugwi that has left farmers in serious conflict with miners.
Of major concern is the use of mercury and cyanide by miners along river beds and particularly Matimba River that have left both domestic and wild animals and human beings at the risk of the lethal poison.
The committees visited the Matimba area to assess the extent of land degradation and river siltation caused by artisanal miners.
Farmers also complained that they have so far lost more than 100 cattle that either fell into pits dug by miners or got stuck in the mud. The mining activities have also affected pastures and irrigation schemes.
Dickson Nyamande, chairman of Selukwe Farm said he lost eight cattle to illegal mining activities.
“We are not against mining but these miners should be controlled so that they don’t carry out their activities to the detriment of farmers. I lost eight cattle which fell into pits dug by the miners,” said Nyamande.
Mkaratigwa said the Parliamentary committees came down to Shurugwi in response to a petition by farmers.
“We received a petition which shows that there are disputes between farmers and miners here. There is also a tension because of environmental damages caused by miners.
“Water polluted with cyanide and mercury is no longer safe to drink or irrigate crops. Women and children should be protected from bad mining activities and farmers and miners should co-exist. We are going back to Parliament as two committees and present our findings,” said Mkaratigwa.
Thandiwe Chidavarume of the Women and Lands in Zimbabwe urged Parliamentarians to push for the finalisation of the land Mines and Minerals amendment bill.
“The Ministry of Mines should hold miners to account and make sure they mine at the right places. They should respect farmers’ rights. The Ministry of Lands should also protect its farmers whose business is also to the economy,” said Chidavarume. https://masvingomirror.com