Aerial fumigation destroys crops, impacts drinking water
Mennonite World Conference newsletter/ICOMB prayer alert
The International Community of Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite World Conference are requesting prayer for Colombia’s Mennonite Brethren Church of Chocó on the west coast of the country that has been negatively impacted by aerial fumigation carried out May 10 by the Colombian government.
The Mennonite Brethren Church of Chocó works with a number of Mennonite and ecumenical groups, including Mennonite Central Committee, to meet spiritual and physical needs in their communities. Weaving Hope is an alternative crops project run by the regional Mennonite Brethren Church in municipalities and communities along the San Juan River Basin of Chocó.
The Weaving Hope project supports over 200 families in the cultivation and processing of food crops such as rice and cacao (for making chocolate), providing an alternative to illicit crops, peace building and community development all at once.
While the fumigation was intended to destroy illegal crops, it also damaged legal crops, devastating the livelihood of many Weaving Hope families. In spite of the risks to their health, some farmers are harvesting their rice prematurely with the hope that they will be able to salvage at least part of their harvest.
In some instances villages and rivers as well as water sources were also fumigated. None of the communities in the region have potable water and residents only consume rainwater that they collect.
“Our fellow members are suffering due to the destruction of their crops,” says ICOMB general director David Wiebe. “It is close to harvest time. Please remember our friends in your prayers.”
The Mennonite Brethren Church is seeking to call out those responsible and to secure government compensation for those whose crops were destroyed. They are asking for prayer and solidarity from the global Anabaptist family. People impacted by the fumigation are offering to host visitors interested in seeing how their crops were affected. Click here to read their statement.
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