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Trucks and tractors from the Mozambican agricultural development project “Sustenta” have been used for illicit purposes, including illegal logging, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mozambique”
Sustenta, financed by the World Bank, covers smallholder projects in ten districts of Nampula and Zambezia provinces, with plans for eventual expansion over the rest of the country.
“Carta de Mocambique” says it found the farmers who received the vehicles in Morrupula, Monapo and Mecuburi districts, in Nampula, used them, between 24 and 27 August, to transport timber, logged illegally in the buffer zone of the Mecuburi forestry reserve.
In Ribaue district, also in Nampula, a Sustenta tractor was seized by local forestry wardens in early August because it was carrying a cargo of illegal timber.
The newssheet adds that the tractor of another beneficiary broke down in Gurue district, in Zambezia, where he had driven it for purposes not covered by Sustenta.
The report cites other producers in Nampula districts who claim that the equipment was only distributed to members of the ruling Frelimo Party, and farmers who were not in Frelimo were excluded. Those who are not Sustenta beneficiaries find it difficult to move their produce, notably cassava.
“Carta de Mocambique” also found that, on the night of 23 August, a Sustenta truck was used as a bus, carrying passengers along the main road in Mecuburi district. But the same truck did also pick up cotton by day from Mecuburi communities and carry it to market in Nampula city.
The newssheet also found that Sustenta vehicles were used to transport Frelimo members and supporters during the recent election campaign.
This has nothing to do with the reasons behind setting up Sustenta, which are “to stimulate the rural economy through integrating rural households in the development of sustainable value chains, based on agriculture and forestry, in order to improve their income and quality of life, with respect for environmental conservation”.Source: AIM
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