Meheba (Zambia): growls from farmers

Meheba (Zambia): growls from farmers

Burundians, Congolese and Rwandans complain of not having access to farming cooperatives. They denounce favoritism in granting chemical fertilizers to other refugee communities living in the Meheba camp in Zambia. They ask that they also be taken into account. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Burundian, Rwandan and Congolese communities accuse managers of cooperatives of “denying us membership”.

“All the cooperatives are made up of Angolan refugees and Zambians. We tried to join, to no avail. We also seized agricultural monitors and agronomists, again without success”, explain Burundians.

However, chemical fertilizers and quality seeds are distributed at a lower cost through cooperatives.

“With only 350
Zambia Kwacha (20 USD), a member of a cooperative receives a batch of 6 bags of fertilizers, 30 kg of maize seeds and 10 kg of soya seeds. This happens at a time when outside the cooperatives, 1 bag of fertilizer is sold between 800 and 1000 Zambia kwacha (46-50 USD), so more than double”, specifies a refugee who says it is unfair.

Another refugee explains that “on a plot of 50 by 50m, you can use 2 bags of fertilizers for the sum of 2000 Zambia kwacha (116 USD). And we must fertilize the soil twice a season to have a good harvest, which a refugee cannot in any case afford”.

Burundian, Congolese and Rwandan refugees are asking the host country and the UNHCR to intervene to solve the problem.

“It is a danger that creates a deep divide and recurring disagreement between refugee communities. They should, however, receive the same treatment. This weakens integration”, underline community leaders at the Meheba camp in Zambia.

The UNHCR no longer distributes food to refugees except for the most vulnerable. The other categories are encouraged to “support themselves, in particular through farming and trade activities”.

Meheba camp is located in a small forest in northwest Zambia. It hosts more than 27,000 refugees, including more than two thousand Burundians.

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