In Congo, Lure Of Quick Cash Turns Farmers Into Miners

Report
from National Public Radio
Published on 28 Mar 2013 View Original

One day while he was watching TV, farmer Emmanuel Tshiteta saw a news segment about people digging.

With shovels and picks, they forged deep holes, then packed the rocks they uncovered into plastic mesh bags. They carried the bags to a river to wash away the dirt, revealing handfuls of aqua-colored ore. The next day, they sold it for quick cash.

Tshiteta, who is from the southern Congolese city of Kolwezi, reflected on the small plot of land he farmed on. His corn required constant work, and droughts or floods could ruin the crop altogether. Even if all went as well, he'd have to wait months for harvest time to finally have some cash. He decided to put down his hoe and pick up a shovel. "Farming takes a long time, but mining is quick business," he explains.

Read the full article on NPR.