HomeLocal NewsCouncil toughens up on urban agriculture

Council toughens up on urban agriculture

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HARARE City Council yesterday urged urban farmers to approach its district offices for allocation of pieces of land for crop farming and warned that council workers would continue to descend heavily on those found cultivating at undesignated points.

STAFF REPORTER

In a statement, council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said while the local authority supported urban agriculture, it did not condone farmers who cultivated on wetlands, streambanks and road verges as they risked pedestrians’ lives and disturbed the flow of traffic.

Gwindi said cultivation at prohibited sites had also been blamed for a number of car accidents in the city as crops such as maize tend to obstruct motorists.

“What this means is people are free to cultivate on designated and approved pieces of land. The people are free to approach the city’s district offices to be shown the approved sites for urban cropping,” Gwindi said.

“To put the record straight — Harare City supports the practice of urban agriculture from time immemorial eg in 1948 Waterfalls as a suburb was de facto planned urban agriculture with animal husbandry and grinding mills freely permitted.

“Similarly, Borrowdale had a minimum 1,5-hectare plots that allowed for horse breeding and intensive horticulture.

“However, the ongoing land subdivisions in the suburbs that have led to densification are curtailing the continued use of some of the plots for animal husbandry and intensive horticulture.

“All high-density suburbs have always practiced urban agriculture within the confines of their stands. The people there grow crops such as vegetables, maize and fruit trees. Council has never interfered with such noble practices aimed at adding to the nutritional values of the families.”

He said the city management appreciated the role played by urban farmers towards national food security and self-sustenance, but warned that it ought to be done in accordance with city by-laws.

“I hope we have put the record straight and we will not be misinterpreted when we deal with the maize crop planted on unsuitable pieces of land. The city will not tolerate crops that hinder the smooth flow of traffic, crops that endanger the safety of residents. Muggings and robberies are known to be on the rise during this cropping season as people plant crops along footpaths used by residents to go to the bus ranks, shops, clinics and adjacent suburbs.”

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