In an effort to fight against poverty induced by the lockdown pandemic and economic woes the country is experiencing women in the villages of Kadoma have rushed into artisanal mining to fund their farming businesses.
Mining is considered as key to national development and economic resuscitation with the government of the view that mining has all it takes to fund agriculture that the country becomes the breadbasket of Africa again.
The women mining using hard manual labour equipment said they have sought the refuge of the hard and risk artisanal mining because they have no other option to raise capital for Agriculture because farming has not been profitable to fund itself of late.
“We have decided to fund our farming businesses through mining, at least with mining we will not be waiting for aid and government inputs scheme. The prices we are getting from our agriculture output are insignificant for farming to fund itself, artisanal mining, for now, is the only solution.” Mbuya waKupa an artisanal miner said.
The women who go for their mining adventures with their children said there would get a maximum of 1 gram of gold on a good day and artisanal mining has been sustainable in funding their farming business.
“We come to work with our children because that is what we have. We are here only during this season, during the rainy season we go for farming. The maximum gold we get a day is a gram.”
The women also said that artisanal mining was hard as men would want to elbow them away from their mining areas and some would want to steal from them.
The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has been urging the government to enact laws and policies which promote gender parity and protect women in mining.
“Gender mainstreaming across the mining value chain is of paramount importance. The government should enact laws and policies and ensure adherence to Section 17 of the Constitution which calls for gender parity in all spheres.
“The government should support women in mining with the requisite tools to resuscitate their businesses, failure of which could result in some of them failing to continue with their mining operations, thus, plunging them deep into poverty,” Zela said in a statement sometime this year.
The organisation is of the view that the Covid-19 pandemic had negatively affected women run or owned businesses the most, therefore, urged the government to speed up the formalisation of artisanal miners.
“The government should thus ensure it brings finality to the formalisation of artisanal mining. Delays in formalising and regularising artisanal miners continue to affect the sector players whose contribution to the growth and development of Zimbabwe’s economy cannot be overemphasised.”