Zimbabwe — A VELD fire razed a 61-hectare commercial maize crop in Mvurwi destroying an estimated 420 tonnes of the cereal valued at US$77 000.
The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at Arda Farm owned by Zanu-PF Councillor Cde Sydney Chidamba.
Police in Mvurwi on Wednesday picked up Cde Chidamba’s neighbour to assist with investigations to establish the cause of the fire.
Clr Chidamba, one of the best tobacco and citrus farmers in Mvurwi, said his workers who were busy grading tobacco and harvesting oranges were yet to harvest the maize.
“My workers were busy selecting tobacco, while others were working in the citrus field when the fire started. When they rushed to put out the fire it was too late and they were overwhelmed.
“The yield was estimated at six to seven tonnes per hectare and the maize destroyed is worth about US$77 000,” Clr Chidamba said.
Clr Chidamba has been at the farm for 10 years. The security supervisor at the farm, Mr Timothy Chikovanyanga, said he had reported the case to the police.
“I made a report at Mvurwi Police and the officers came to assess the damage and investigate the cause. I took them around the farm trying to trace the source of the fire and we ended up at a neighbour’s house.
“A man was picked up for questioning and I left him in the hands of the police in Mvurwi,” said Mr Chikovanyanga.
When The Herald visited the farm on Wednesday, burnt maize cobs were scattered in the fields, while others had been heaped in various places.
A 300-strong herd of cattle was wandering about the burst pastures. Clr Chidamba said he was thinking of taking some of the cattle to neighbouring farms that had pastures.