BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) in Mashonaland East province has stopped construction of a multi-million-dollar dam in Marondera after the project was embarked on without an environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate.
The dam is part of a million-dollar horticultural project jointly run by Churchill, Sambok farms, and outgrower farmers in the area.
Section 97 of the Environmental Management Act (20:27) demands that water sources must be constructed after going through EIA processes.
EMA Mashonaland East provincial spokesperson Astas Mabwe yesterday said the dam project would resume after all the paperwork was done.
“They started the project without an EIA certificate. We ticketed and issued them with an order to stop operations until they comply,” Mabwe said.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the construction of the three-million-cubic-metre dam was also being hindered by war veterans and newly resettled farmers in the area, who were reportedly demanding compensation for lost farmland.
“Some war veterans and other farmers are blocking the good project as they demand compensation and kickbacks. One of the farmers said the dam’s overflow will affect his plans to construct chalets for his business. For the EIA to be passed, there must be consultations around the community and this is a daunting task. Farmers are referring the whole process to war veteran leaders in the area,” the source said.
The contracted company, JR Goddard is reportedly in the process of securing the EIA certificate with operations set to resume in a fortnight.
The dam is set to be complete by October this year.
Nhimbe Fresh Exports, the company behind the project, said it was targeting to export 3 000 tonnes of garlic, 1 500 tonnes of ginger, 5 000 tonnes of sponta potato and 5 000 tonnes of red onion among other fresh produce.
A team of Asian agronomists was in Marondera last month to assess the project envisaged to supply fresh produce to markets in the United Arab Emirates.