Elizabeth Tsuro, Midlands Reporter
TWENTY SIX Zhombe communal farmers face prosecution for practising streambank cultivation along Ngondoma River.
The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has issued the farmers from Khosana, Ngulumo and Mbotshwa villages in Zhombe with environmental management orders to cease farming operations along the river.
Midlands EMA environmental educational publicity officer, Timothy Nyoka said those who defy the orders would be prosecuted.
“In terms of the Environmental Management Act Chapter 20 section 37(4b), the environmental inspectors or officers have the power to issue out orders for the prevention of natural resources harm and the people have no right whatsoever to go against the orders,” said Nyoka.
“EMA officers conducting inspections found out that the farmers were practising stream bank cultivation within the high flood levels of the river and this also causes siltation affecting many projects which rely on the water source.”
He said stream bank cultivation also reduces the carrying capacity of rivers which affects water bodies and aquatic life.
“The carrying capacity of the river is reduced because it will be full of sand and again the flooding chances are very high and water will be spreading out and getting into people`s homes.
“EMA will not hesitate to prosecute anyone found carrying out agricultural activities near streams and rivers, but no arrests have been made as yet in Zhombe,” said Nyoka.
He said farmers were also using land clearing methods like deforestation which he said have a negative impact on the environment.
“While we’re busy preparing for the National Tree Planting Day these farmers are busy cutting down trees on a rapid rate despite the education we provide them on the negative impact of such methods of land clearing,” said Nyoka.