Thursday, November 30, 2023

Editorial Comment: Farmers must prepare for veld fire season

With 2022-23 cropping season coming to an end save for the winter farming, the need for farmers to come up with measures to ensure the marauding veld fires are put under check become more important as never before.
After the harvesting processes currently underway, farmers are reminded of the need to ensure fire guards are put in place to protect the country’s vegetation from the devastating effects of fire during the dry season. Under such a scenario, farmers are reminded of the need to act swiftly to fight the scourge of veld fires.
So many forests have been destroyed by veld fires and human actions are mostly to blame over such cases and losses. With the dry season beckoning, all stakeholders should be seen playing own roles so that a collective action in fighting the destruction of forests.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) should take a leading role in the fight against destruction of veld fires. EMA should take a leading role in ensuring all stakeholders adhere and conform to set rules and regulations and that will be the only way to ensure forests are protected.
Always raising awareness and disseminating the relevant information to the general public is also another way to fight these veld fires. Thus EMA should make sure there is total adherence by farmers to the creation of protective fire guards and there is need to be strict even it means imposing stiffer penalties to those who fail to implement what is required of them.
In remote areas, EMA should make use of traditional leadership and EMA environmental monitors to help save forests and arable land including those species who use it as a habitat from destruction. The monitors should be monitored periodically as a way of ensuring they execute their duties effectively in respective areas of jurisdiction.
Communities should be taught to have an appreciation of the importance of use of fireguards as they are the only way to handle or put out stray fires. In that same vein, reporting mechanisms should be made available to the general public where EMA would also be required to swiftly respond to cases of veld fires.
As such, farmers may form committees in their locality to deal with veld fires as a way of safe guarding their premises from destruction. Farmers need to be pro-active than reactive to veld fire issues.

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