Farmers Warned Against Veld Fires

Farmers Warned Against Veld Fires

25 April 2011

published by

Zimbabwe — The Environment Management Agency has warned it will take drastic action against farmers who fail to implement required fire prevention measures by June 30 this year.

Addressing A2 farmers in Karoi recently, Hurungwe District Environmental Management Officer Mr Munyaradzi Gandidzanwa said farmers should be more serious about the prevention of veld fires.

Last season veld fires claimed lives of several people and destroyed many homesteads in the district.

This, Mr Gandidzanwa said, had earned the district a bad fire management record.

He told the farmers that they had up to June 30, to put in place fire pre-suppression measures that included fireguards, fire-fighting teams, equipment and fire outbreak warning systems.

Mr Gandidzanwa urged farmers to be very careful about the dimensions of the fireguards which he said must be cleared of all flammable materials.

The fireguards should have a width of at least nine metres on either side of a boundary fence.

“By June 30 every farmer should have complied with this requirement and inspections will begin,” said Mr Gandidzanwa.

“Apart from fireguards which meet the prescribed standards, we also expect every farm to have, firefighting teams and the necessary equipment that includes axes, fire beaters as well as water points.

“There should be some commitment and will to preserve our environment.”

A person failing to comply with the set measures can be liable to imprisonment or US$5 000 fine.

Mr Gandidzanwa commended Hurungwe Rural District Council and tobacco contracting companies operating in the district for their efforts in ensuring that tobacco farmers used coal for curing their crop.

He added that this had caused a significant decline in illegal cutting down of trees in the area.

However, Mr Gandidzanwa lamented the rate at which Nyaodza River was fast silting up due to stream bank cultivation.

He encouraged farmers to construct standard toilets on their farms for proper disposal of sewage.

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