Expeditiously harmonise mining and agric laws, Govt urged

21 Dec, 2018 - 00:12 0 Views
Expeditiously harmonise mining and agric laws, Govt urged Cde Wadyajena

The Herald

Zvamaida Murwira in Kadoma
GOVERNMENT should work expeditiously to harmonise mining and agricultural laws to avert conflicts that are occurring in farms where cattle have been dying after drinking water contaminated with cyanide from miners, Women and Land in Zimbabwe said yesterday.

They told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Climate and Water here yesterday that such incidents were occurring in Shurugwi in the Midlands Province where miners have operations adjacent to farms.

The women were giving evidence before the committee chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) on challenges being faced by rural farmers, particularly women.

Mrs Bester Mhonda of Shurugwi told legislators that she had lost six cattle, while other farmers nearby lost several livestock as their farms were adjacent to mining activities.

“We are losing cattle after they drink chemicals used in mining such as cyanide and mercury.

“I lost six of my cattle, efforts to have compensation from the culprits failed to pay off.

“While we agreed with the culprits that they would pay compensation, they did not and eventually left the place without our knowledge.

“I am not alone in this predicament as several other farmers nearby are facing similar challenges,” said Mrs Mhonda.

In her presentation before the committee, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association director Mrs Abigail Matsvayi said it was high time that Government expeditiously harmonise laws to do with agriculture and mining to avoid conflicts.

“If these laws are harmonised, there would be convergence and people’s rights would be protected, particularly those of women.

“We also need to address the issue of land tenure because women are the most affected in this regard,” said Mrs Matsvayi.

Women and Land in Zimbabwe representative Mrs Sharon Chipunza said women faced several challenges as they sought to utilise the land and there was need to harmonise Government policies and laws to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

“There is conflict between those in agriculture with people in mining and there is need to resolve these issues because both agriculture and mining are sources of income.

“People earn a living in both farming and mining,” said Mrs Chipunza.

There were also concerns that a few women had accessed land under the land redistribution programme, while others said they were pushed out of farms either by relatives of influential Government officials when their husbands died.

Other women complained that Command Agriculture while noble, was not all inclusive.

“We are being told that for one to participate in Command Agriculture, they should have at least five hectares.

“We have seen some people with just two hectares performing much better than those with huge tracts of land.

“We feel Command Agriculture should focus more on one’s ability,” said Mrs Agatha Chihuni from Makoni District in Manicaland Province.

Cde Wadyajena described the concerns raised by the stakeholders as pertinent and assured them that his committee would engage relevant Government entities to ensure that the issues raised are addressed.

“We shall engage the Land Commission and the Ministry of Lands to consider women who have demonstrated ability to farm,” said Cde Wadyajena.

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