Africa: Mozambique Official Rejects Calls to Destroy Farmers' Marijuana Crops 4/21/06

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Mozambique Attorney General Joaquim Madeira last week rejected calls from parliament to destroy the marijuana fields planted by peasant farmers, Angola Press reported. Instead, he said, the peasants should be offered alternative crops.

Cannabis is a widespread cash crop for farmers in the impoverished south African nation.

"Herbal cannabis for local consumption is produced throughout the country, particularly in Tete, Manica, and Zambezia provinces," said the US State Department in its latest annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. "Limited amounts are exported to neighboring countries, particularly South Africa," the report added.

Madeira's remarks came during questioning from parliamentary deputies during his annual report to the Assembly of the Republic. The deputies were concerned about drug trafficking and wanted to know why the government wasn't taking tougher measures.

But Madeira said burning down the fields of "soruma," the local name for the weed, was no solution. Farmers needed new cash crops to replace their marijuana crops, he insisted, although he didn't specify what those may be.

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Issue #432 -- 4/21/06

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