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GWERU farmers in the Ngamo area under Vungu Rural District Council have turned to sand extraction in a bid to earn a living in the face of a looming drought, Newzimbabwe.com has learnt.

The farmers, whose crops have wilted due to erratic rains, said they are now selling sand and stones used for construction in order to raise money to sustain themselves.

The revelations were made during a media tour to assess sand extraction in Gweru district on Friday organised by the provincial Environmental Management Agency (EMA).

The farmers however operate legally after they were granted licences by EMA.

Kesari Chidanhika said a lot of sand poachers were digging up (sand) during the night on his piece of land.

“I realised that it was better to venture into sand extraction and do business instead of losing out to illegal operators,” Chidanhika said.

“Besides we don’t expect much from the fields as the crops wilted from erratic rains but we still have to make a living.”

Martha Mugaviri, a farmer at Plot 55, said she did not get inputs in the last farming season and, as such, sand extraction was a better alternative for survival.

Mugaviri, a widow, said besides the unpredictable rains the soil in her plot was loose and not suitable for crop cultivation.

“It is better that I venture into this business (sand extraction) so that I can improve my homestead,” she said.

EMA provincial information and publicity officer, Timothy Nyoka, said there were 27 registered people engaged in sand extraction in Gweru district and that the rest were operating illegal.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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