By Romeo Takundwa
Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor, Charles Chikaura and Bindura South legislator, Remigious Mutangira’s Erim and Thrums farms were last week fined RTGS$30 000 each by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) for failing to erect standard fireguards.
EMA Mashonaland Central Publicity and Education Officer, Maxwell Mupotsa said the two farmers failure to create fireguards resulted in a veld fire that claimed two lives, a Bindura businessman and his son and destroyed 73 hectares of vegetation last week.
Mupotsa claims that at Erim Farm there was a 4.5 meters fireguard whilst at Thrums farm also had a substandard one.
“Farmers should construct fireguards 9m wide around their fields to contain the widespread of veld fires.
“They can also harvest thatch grass for sale to sustain their lives at the same time helping in the reduction of biomass that helps in the spread of veldt fires,” he said.
A total of 13 veldt fire incidents have so far been recorded in Mashonaland Central since the beginning of the fire season at the end of July. 200 hectors of land have been burnt and five tickets have been issued to those who caused them.
According to Amkela Sidange, EMA national education and publicity manager, a total of 317 veldt fires have been recorded countrywide since the beginning of the season compared to 186 in the same period of last year.
A cumulative of 134 500 hectares of land has also been burnt whilst only 79 000 were destroyed last year in the same period.