Blessing Rwizi Post Correspondent—
THE Environmental Management Agency (EMA) is leaning heavily on local authorities in a bid to force communal farmers to stop stream bank cultivation and reduce chances of flooding this cropping season.EMA Provincial Manager for Manicaland Mr Kingston Chitotombe told The Manica Post that local authorities should establish environmental sub-committees that will create by-laws that protect rivers from stream bank cultivation. Stream bank cultivation refers to the practice of growing or cultivation of crops near streams, river or wetlands.
Some of its effects are reducing the carrying capacity of rivers, which affects water bodies and aquatic life. Siltation will also result in shortage of water for the greater part of the year in these areas. Moreover, the carrying capacity of rivers will be reduced because the river will be full of sand. In that case, flooding chances are very high and water will be spreading into the forest and getting into people`s homes.
Mr Chitotombe said EMA will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found carrying out agricultural activities near streams and rivers. “Stream bank cultivation also has effects to those who live down stream of the river due to its reduced water carrying capacity. We have been holding awareness campaigns for some time now but, most communal farmers tend to ignore the regulations.
“EMA shall not rest but rather continue urging local authorities to establish Environmental Sub-Committees that will create by-laws that protect rivers from stream bank cultivation. Anyone found carrying out agricultural activities near streams and rivers shall be fined accordingly,” said Mr Chitotombe.
In an interview with Headman Ephraim Matiashe of Ward 8 in Chimanimani West, hailed the move being taken by EMA to reduce stream bank cultivation.
“As the traditional leadership of this area, we support the move being taken by EMA and we shall work together with them to combat stream bank cultivation. We have experienced similar problems along Nyanyazi, Odzi and Save rivers for some time now.
“Stream bank cultivation is leaving the soil too loose such that during the rainy season, the gardens get easily swept away leaving gullies extending into people’s homes. It’s very risky and within a short space of time, some people living along these rivers will be forced to relocate. It is therefore wiser for villagers to follow certain regulations to avoid regrets,” said Headman Matiashe.