Women protest at loss of land in Beira

About 1,000 women demonstrated on Friday in front of the City Council heaquarters in the central port of Beira , demanding just compensation for land and crops they are losing because of the construction of the new Beira port coal terminal.

The women were mostly owners of small rice fields in the neighbourhood of Munhava-Matope. They demonstrated for eight hours outside the City Council, because the Council is working with the ports and rail company (CFM) in drawing up a survey of the peasant farmers affected by the new terminal.

According to a report in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, the peasants complain that the commission set up by CFM and the Council is paying widely differing amounts of compensation to the farmers affected. They say that some are receiving 1,500 meticais (about 56 US dollars) in compensation, while others receive 2,000 or even 5,000 meticais.

One of the peasant women affected, Fatima Jussa, told the paper “We want an explanation for why some of us, with the same amount of land, are receiving 5,000 meticais and others 1,500”.

Maria Fernando said she has lost her rice crop. “They threw sand and salt water on my field, where I had planted rice. They don’t want to pay me”, she protested. “My friends, in the same situation, are receiving 5,000 meticais. Why this different form of treatment?”

The CFM representative on the Commission, Rito Almirante, said that the different payments were due to different levels of damage. Some of the farmers had only lost their rice crop because of the invasion by sea water, caused by dredging, while others had lost both their crops and the land itself.

Those who could never use their land again, were entitled to compensation of 5,000 meticais, said Almirante, whereas those who had only lost their rice harvest, would receive 1,500 meticais.

CFM expects to pay the Beira presents in total about 2.9 million meticais.
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