Chiredzi – The practice of illegal urban farming is costing the town of Chiredzi thousands of United States dollars in damaged property as farmers are now irrigating their crops using sewer water they get by vandalising sewer pipes, it has been learnt.
To solve the problem, Chiredzi Town Council is now planning to destroy all crops that are planted on undesignated land.
A recent community engagement meeting heard that the farmers are deliberately damaging council's sewer infrastructure in bizarre ways of finding water for their crops.
Council secretary, Charles Muchatukwa said it was time for the council to take stern measures as people had shown a reluctance to stop their illegal activities.
"We have tried everything to keep them away from such behaviour but I think it's high time we do something drastic. Council is set to take a step further by destroying their crops so that they stop vandalising the pipes," said Muchatukwa.
A resident who spoke to this publication said he agreed with council's position because the behaviour of illegal farmers is creating permanent sewer streams that are a health hazard.
"I think it is a good resolution. If the people fail to cooperate, the best solution is to slash their crops so that they feel the pain and desist from vandalising the sewer pipes. These people are also damaging the environment through unauthorised farming," he said.
However, a farmer who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was engaged in illegal farming activities because that was his only source of income, claiming he is raising his kids through the practice.
"Farming is my only source of income and I am only doing this to raise my children and if council is convinced we are vandalising their pipes, why don't they use steel pipes?" the farmer said.news