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Tongogara Refugees Appeal For More Irrigated Land

1 year agoSun, 27 Nov 2022 11:51:59 GMT
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Tongogara Refugees Appeal For More Irrigated Land

Refugees at the Tongogara Refugee Camp, located in Chipinge District in Manicaland Province, have ventured into farming and retailing to make ends meet.

The camp is home to nearly 15 000 people displaced by mainly armed conflict from their countries of origin.

Most of the refugees at the Tongogara Camp are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Rwanda among other countries.

Speaking to a Business Times reporter, Richard Bushiri from Burundi, who is the chairperson of the local small agricultural project that is being run at the refugee Camp, said:

It is a struggle to survive my brother. Those not in agriculture are enterprising enough to run some grocery tuck-shops, some hair salons, beer outlets and hardware shops. You find almost everything, my brother.

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The agricultural project is under irrigation and a few selected families are the beneficiaries and have at least 0.25 hectares of land they farm.

Bushiri said the land is not enough and many refugees have been left out. He added:

Without irrigation, there is no crop production in this area. It is very arid as you can see, and so the cry for more land cannot be overemphasised and that land has to be under irrigation.

The farmers grow a variety of crops among them beans, wheat, fresh vegetables, that include tomatoes, onions, peas, and carrots among others.

Bushiri said most of what the farmers grow is for their own consumption, while in some instances they sell to fellow refugees.

Another refugee, Jerome Kamwana from the DRC, who is part of the banana project, said:

We are very grateful for being part of this project. We thank the Government of Zimbabwe first, for giving us sanctuary and the peace we enjoy here.

Secondly, we’re thankful for the land that we were parcelled out to grow these banana plants we have here.

We have managed to sustain our families and other dependents through farming.

The father of five children and two grandchildren said the appeal from most of the refugees is to have a bigger area to be serviced and be under irrigation.

Besides growing maize and bananas, the refugees are also into fish farming, pig rearing, chicken and goat farming, and soap making among other projects.



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