Zimbabwe — At least 500 out of 1 574 hectares of grazing pastures that accommodate a herd of 1 354 cattle was burnt to cinder by a veld fire at Ingwe Farm. The farm is owned by the City of Harare.
One of the three farms run by the City Council lost 30 percent of its green pastures to veld fires that destroyed food for a herd promising to improve supplies of meat to the capital.
Ingwe Farm is located behind Glen View and Budiriro — south-west of the city and the farm is managed by Jabulani Mbetu.
The farm did not have fire-guards and lacked water supplies.
On Friday the Deputy Mayor of Harare, Emmanuel Chiroto and all councillors toured the farm. Disgruntled city fathers slammed the way the farm was being handled as the cattle had gone for four days without quenching their thirst.
Previously, the farm had lost dozens of cattle to cattle rustlers as there was no security fence at all. The farm is currently fenced by a combination of barbed wire and untreated gum-poles that can easily be brought down by termites or veld-fires.
Mbetu said efforts to improve the situation were underway but limited resources were hindering progress.
“We were provided a tractor to make a fire-guard around the farm and divide it into paddocks but lack of fuel has stopped the whole process, and we are fencing all the boundaries. At the moment we reduced stock theft to zero percent, death rate has come down to 12 percent every six months; while chemical supplies for the dip have been available and the cattle are in good shape,” Mbetu said.
Mbetu said there was need to have improved supply of clean water as the cattle were not drinking from Ingwe Dam and boreholes at the farm had dried up.
“We only have one borehole that is catering for domestic consumption and the cattle have gone for four days without tasting water since they need cleaner water,” said Mbetu.
“Three of the boreholes that were meant for the cattle are broken down and there is shortage of labour as 14 posts of rangers are vacant.”
A disgruntled Chiroto ordered the council’s environmental management committee to move swiftly and put measures in place to save the farm.
“The environmental committee must make sure that all the needed things at this farm are readily available and the three boreholes must be quickly repaired as it is unfair for such a good herd to go for four days without water,” said Chiroto.
Meanwhile, Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told The Mail recently that the city was embarking on a mission to revamp its three farms: Dzivarasekwa, Crowborough and Ingwe farms so that the city can generate revenue from the farms.