Tanzania: Farmers call on government to ban sand dredging in farming areas

The National Environment Management Council (NEMC) of Tanzania has been urged to ban sand dredging in Matumburu Ward to save grape and vegetable farms from soil dilapidation and extinction.

A farmers’ group led by Donald Masebo made this call noting that there had been life-threatening damages caused by dredging activities done in the area.

Masebo revealed that long before now, the area had been a source of living for residents but sand dredging/winning activities were seriously affecting grape and vegetable farms.

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He said, “In fact, as members of the group, we appeal to NEMC to ban sand extraction in these areas.

“We hope NEMC can help in this, considering that village and ward authorities have allowed an investor to extract sand and degrade the environment.”

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He also revealed that although the local government leaders allowed investors to dredge sand in these areas, they never came to a compromise with the farmers to determine the way forward.

Masebo blamed the dredging activities for the diminishing state of agriculture in the area, as it affected water sources.

Defending the activities, the investor in charge of dredging in the area, Mr. Onesmo Chigoma, said that the activities complied with the law and the permit he had.

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“I cannot invade areas and start extracting sand without following legal procedures. I have permission to do it.

“I am surprised to learn that a group of farmers want to stop me when various meetings were held and I was allowed to do what I am doing,” he said.

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