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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Mutare council warns illegal urban farmers

Branton Matondo

With the rainy season already gathering momentum, Mutare city fathers released a final warning on November 30 to Sakubva residents who farm on prohibited, citing that punitive measures will be enforced on perpetrators who would have failed to take heed to the notice.
This comes after massive reports of silt pollution that is affecting the flow and quality of water due to loose land along Sakubva River which cuts across the oldest suburb in Mutare.
The notice bedded on the theme ‘#letsStopIllegalUrbanCultivation and urged farmers to stop such activities.
“No cultivation shall be permitted on the following areas; land within 30 meters of stream banks, land within 10 meters of a road, land on slopes and uphill, land that has been surveyed for residential and industrial development,” read the notice.
The notice also warned Old Location residents who are practicing illegal urban cultivation with others already creeping towards Guva grounds which are meant for recreational purposes.
“Cultivation in undesignated places may lead to destruction of the crops or persecution,” added the notice.
One resident said the notice came at the appropriate time when the rainy season is gathering momentum and residents will take heed.
“At the end of the day we have to protect our environment. It might seem unfair to other people but it’s the right thing to do. I thank council for such an initiative,” said the resident.
Another resident however said council should act now so as to prevent future tension with residents.
“People are already cultivating as we speak in those undesignated areas, you can check Green Market river bank. Council should act now so as to save themselves from unnecessary tension and friction with residents,” said the resident.
Mutare Rivers Rehabilitation Initiative (MRRI) led by Lynne James is already in the process of rehabilitating urban rivers chief among those Sakubva River.
They have since checked cultivated land from Green market to Jelf Road Bridge where there are high cases of illegal cultivation.
The practice has seen the association level pegging 30 meters from the actual river in an attempt to demarcate designated from undesignated land.
Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and tertiary institution Africa University are in full support of the project.
An inquiry on future exercises indicate that tree planting across the undesignated areas will be prioritized so as to hold loose land.
Sewer, solid waste and silt pollution have had a big negative effect on the state of rivers in Mutare urban.

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