Home » Industry » Crop Destruction Angers Mabvuku Residents

Mabvuku residents are up in arms with Kugarika Kushinga Housing Co-operative, which they accuse of destroying their maize crop on a wetland which has sustained their livelihoods for decades. Residents from Mabvuku and Tafara were shocked when land developers hired by the co-operative bulldozed maize which had reached tasselling stage on a wetland between Larfage Cement Zimbabwe plant and the two suburbs.

More than 20 families were affected as the housing co-operative pressed ahead to clear the land for roads and housing development.

“This is bad for us as we have spent our hard earned money to buy inputs such as seed, fertilisers and labour to till the land,” said Mrs Elizabeth Jimu of Mabvuku.

“This is a huge loss for us. We depend on the maize crop to sustain our families, to pay fees and our bills.

“They should have allowed us to harvest our crop by April, which is not very far.

“These people don’t understand that the plots they were allocated on this wetland have fed thousands of families for decades here.”

Residents watched helplessly as their crop was bulldozed on a piece of land that has a fragile ecosystem. The residents said their crop was destroyed without prior notice.

“We were not given any notice. They destroyed our crop recklessly,” said Mrs Evelyn Makate of Tafara.

“We have been growing maize on this wetland since 1981.

“Our livelihood depend on these maize fields and how are we going to feed our families?”

Many residents have planted maize on open spaces in the city to boost food security. Many involved in urban farming do so in response to personal economic and social circumstances. Lack of jobs and increasing urban poverty have pushed many of the poor into urban farming.

Harare Residents Trust member Mr Passmore Masanga castigated the housing co-operative for destroying the maize crop without giving notice to the affected families.

“These are elderly people who use the fields to support their families with food,” he said.

“The housing co-operative has robbed people of their livelihoods. Many people here depend peri-urban farming for survival.”

He said the affected families should be compensated for the loss incurred.

City spokesman Michael Chideme said the co-operative was allocated the land in 1984.

“The housing co-operative was allocated the land in 1984 but we are going investigate the allegations,” he said.

Contacted for comment, an official of Kugarika Kushinga Housing Co-operative, Mr Evermore Pasipanodya said the land was being cleared for the housing project which started in 1993 after land was acquired in 1984.

“We were given this land in 1984 and we are building houses for our members who have not yet benefited from the scheme,” he said.

“We warned people not to plant crops on this land. They ignored our calls.”

The move to slash maize has shattered the hopes of many farmers in the area who have depended on the wetlands to supplement their household food requirements for decades.

In the past, municipal police have slashed maize cultivated along stream banks and other undesignated places.

Source : The Herald