Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Land invaders threaten scenic Vumba

Zanu PF land invaders threaten scenic Vumba

Saturday, 28 April 2012 16:58

MUTARE — Zanu (PF) supporters resettled as A1 farmers in Vumba and Burma 
Valley areas have been accused of destroying the scenic Eastern Highlands by 
indiscriminately cutting down indigenous and exotic trees and wanton hunting 
of wild animals.
Owners of private properties and A2 farmers in the tourist resort area said 
A1 farmers, the majority of whom are war veterans,  were illegally  hunting 
wild animals and destroying the unique forests in the area.

Operators of tourism facilities  said the area, which is renowned for its 
beautiful scenery  and forests, was fast losing its value.

John Maengamhuru who grows flowers and operates an indigenous tree sanctuary 
said the destruction of natural environment had been worsened by people who 
invaded areas that were not suitable for habitation.

The illegal settlers are allegedly farming on mountain slopes, water 
channels and along riverbeds, thus speeding land degradation which is 
threatening productive farming in the area.

This has also worsened the siltation of the two major rivers, Nyamakari and 
Nyamataka whose water is harnessed to irrigate the rich loam soils in the 
area, once a major force to reckon with in horticultural production.

One horticulturalist Admire Mazaretu said one of the two sources of 
Nyamakari River, which is begins from Bedza Mountain,  was already  severely 
silted as the illegal farmers, who are said to be backed by senior Zanu (PF) 
officials in the province, were cultivating on the mountain slopes.

“Efforts to have the illegal settlers removed seem to be hitting a brick 
wall as we now fully understand that there are political forces behind 
this,” said Mazaretu.

Tourism players and farmers in the area said it was now imperative that the 
responsible  authorities join hands with conservationists to address the 

“If the practice is left to continue for two seasons or more,  Vumba and 
other areas like Burma Valley  risk turning into a desert and farming 
infrastructures maybe destroyed,” said Peter Magosvongwe a local strawberry 

EMA steps in to stop the rot

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) provincial environmental officer, 
Kingston Chitotombe said efforts were being made to engage all stakeholders 
in order to rectify the situation.

He said the agency was working with  various stakeholders including the 
local government, police and other relevant key ministries.

“We held a meeting with these stakeholders together with the farmers last 
month and explained to them the implications of cultivating on mountain 
slopes, water channels and cutting down trees, which speeds-up land 
degradation that would threaten productive farming,” said Chitotombe.

He said illegal settlers have been given a deadline to vacate the area, 
failure to which they would be forcibly removed.

“The resettled farmers have agreed to vacate the area soon after they 
harvest their crops. Failure to do that we will have to act through the 
courts,”  said Chitotombe.


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