Farmers fined over veld fires

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BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

MORE than 60 farmers in Chikomba district, have been issued with tickets for failing to construct fireguards during this fire season.

The tickets, issued by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) will see a total of $2 250 000 being realised during the blitz meant to curb veld fires.

EMA Mashonaland East provincial information and publicity officer, Astas Mabwe yesterday confirmed that farmers, who have not complied, were issued with tickets.

“We are currently in Chikomba district where we are conducting a blitz to curb veldfires in the area. The farmers, who failed to erect fireguards around their fields or farms by July 31 as per the order were issued with tickets.

“For the past three days, we have issued 61 farmers with tickets. The A1 farmers pay $30 000 while the A2 farmers pay $50 000,” Mabwe said.

Chikomba has the highest prevalence of veldfires in the whole province with the most causes being land preparations.

To date, the district has recorded 11 veldfire incidents. Most veldfires are anthropogenic.

“We are also carrying out massive awareness campaigns after realising that some farmers are not complying to fireguards construction orders. As it stands, the compliance rate is at 46,7% after giving them orders,” Mabwe said.

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