Shalom Manguni, H-Metro Reporter
Harare City Council says urban farming is permissible in the capital only if residents follow the city’s by-laws, which prohibit planting of crops in open spaces within the city environs.
Urban farming has become a source of food security for most people in cities around the country.
However, urban farming has had some negative effects and is blamed for the rise in robbery and murder cases, especially around February-April when the maize reaches maturity stage.
Criminals use the maize fields to hide and launch their attacks on passers-by.
Fertlizers used by Harare’s urban farmers has also been blamed for contributing to the pollution of the capital’s water sources.
In an interview with H-Metro early this year, Harare mayor Hebert Gomba felt there was need to stop urban farming if the city was to contain pollution of water sources.
“Residents should stop urban agriculture which has contributed to fertilizer being eroded to Chivero and causing algae growth, weeds and stop pollution as well,” said Mayor Gomba.
However, council spokesperson Michael Chideme urged residents to adhere to the city’s by-laws
“Urban farming is allowed in Harare under certain conditions.
“Our by-laws do not allow urban farming on the sides of roads, verges, and wetlands, along streams as well as river banks.
“Stream bank cultivation is a serious environmental challenge affecting water bodies in the country.”
Chideme also warned residents, who had already cultivated on roadsides this season, that council would slash the crops.
“The city will reign in on those who are violating City by laws by removing their crops which are being planted on undesignated farming areas.
“We have also put in place measures to regulate urban farming,” he said.
Despite the warning, a number of people have been busy on the roadside fields amid forecasts for the onset of the rain season.