Zimbabwe: More Youths Turn to Gold Panning in Gokwe As Drought Takes Toll

Thirteen-year-olds dig for gold ore (file photo).

More youths in Gokwe North are turning to gold panning for survival following an unyielding cropping season which has left over 50 000 people in the area in need of immediate food aid.

Gokwe North District Administrator, Isaac Mutambara has said the more energetic and enterprising youths have now turned to the rich gold panning practice in the Zenda area in Gokwe for survival as drought continues to take its toll on the rural population.

Most parts of Gokwe are enduring a difficult period following a poor cropping season last year.

In Simchembo, an area which borders Gokwe North and Binga, rains were only received twice, a dire situation for a district which relies on rain fed agriculture for farming.

"The situation here is very pathetic," Mutambara said in an interview.

"Vulnerability is 70% according to the latest Zimvac assessment."

To assist the starving villagers, Mutambara has called for an immediate establishment of the Grain Marketing Board sub depots for people to easily access and buy grain.

So dire is the situation that school going children are surviving on free meals at schools.

Families are failing to feed.

"The school feeding programme has been a welcome panacea as some families are failing to feed themselves," he said.

Faced with a bleak future in terms of food security, the more enterprising and energetic youths have now turned to gold panning.

"The more energetic amongst the youthful population have flocked Zenda area for gold panning as a survival mechanism," he said.

He however added that it was not all gloomy as government has stepped in and is currently assisting a third of the population with food aid.

"The World Food Programme has also intervened. However, we remain with a large number of people who are still in need of aid," he said.

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