Flooding impacts urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

Flooding impacts urban agriculture in Zimbabwe

By on Jan 23, 2017 in News |

Lovemore Lubinda

The incessant rains that have been falling in Zimbabwe since the beginning of the rain season late last year have affected urban agriculture.

Some urban farmers  who spoke to ZwNews have expressed their fears that the floods being experienced in the country at the moment could lead to serious food insecurity.

Esthel Makwana of Warren Park in Harare told this publication that the rains have dented her hopes for a better harvest as it has washed away crops, while some other locations crops are failing to do well because of waterlogging and leaching of nutrients.

“Our crops have turned yellowish because of too much rains, the floods have also washed away nutrients and all the fertiliser that I applied was just a waste, as it was all leached down,” she said.

Many residents in the country’s urban centres have been augmenting their insufficient incomes by growing crops within the confines of their boundaries, and open spaces.

In some instances the urban farmers have even grown crops in wetlands which are just more prone to flooding.

Kudakwashe Tagara, another Harare resident who last season had to send some of his urban farming produces to his parents in the rural areas (Mutoko) after they failed to harvest more to eat, said the floods have affected their livelihoods to a greater extent.

“The situation is compromising our ability to fend for our families; all my small fields dotted along the Mukuwisi River have been rendered a complete write-off. I won’t get anything this year, my aging parents in Mutoko depend on what I provide them,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to the Poverty Reduction  Forum  Trust (PRFT) most urban residents are relying on urban agriculture for sustenance, because of poverty, lack of dependable incomes, many find it hard to purchase all the food they require.

PRFT says the dwindling agricultural production can affect some residents’ wellbeing, particularly the urban poor who have limited alternatives in the provision of the food they require other than own production.

Be that as it may, over the years some residents in Harare have been at loggerheads with the local authority, accusing it of being too harsh on them. The City of Harare (CoH) had in some instances slashed down thriving maize crop that had been grown by residents in some open spaces.

CoH Acting Corporate Communications Manager Michael Chideme says the city had supported the practice of urban agriculture for many years, as long as it is done on designated lands, and this had been incorporated in its by-laws.

He says the problem comes when residents practice their farming activities in prohibited areas such as road verges, stream banks, and wetlands.

“We have mechanisms in place to safeguard the environment, and it is these measure that have been misconstrued to imply that council is against urban cultivation. City management is very aware of the contribution to self sustenance that is played by urban agriculture,” says Chideme.

Share This