The Environmental Management Agency (EMA), has penalised farmers in Zvimba North district after veld fires destroyed over 100 hectares of maize.
EMA Mashonaland West education and publicity officer, Munyaradzi Nhariswa said the agency was concerned by the prevalence of fire outbreaks in farming communities where there is low uptake of standard fireguards across the province.
He said preliminary investigations of fire incidences had indicated most farmers in Zvimba North did not have standard fireguards around their farms or properties.
EMA’s call for the clearing of fireguards follows two recent fire incidences recorded in Zvimba district.
The first incident affected Nchefu and Inkawli farms in Ward 30 Raffingora last week.
The second incident, also last week, affected Kildonan Extension, also known as Mushamukuru farm in Ward 15, Mutorashanga.
Approximately 10 hectares of seed maize belonging to a local farmer, Paul Mushonga Kembo, was burnt while a total of 100 hectares with maize ready for harvesting was destroyed in the inferno.
At least 15 hectares of grazing land belonging to another farmer only identified as Mutisi was also burnt in the same week.
Fire also damaged an estimated 100 tonnes of maize piled for shelling while the maize sheller was reduced to ashes.
In order to curb the prevalence of veld fires in Zvimba district, EMA has since issued 50 plot holders with orders to construct standard fireguards while others were penalised for failing to put fireguards altogether.
“EMA is appealing to communal, A1, A2, and commercial farmers to put necessary fire suppression measures around their properties.
“A standard fireguard should be at least 9 metres wide and free of any flammable material,” Nhariswa told NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend.