SOMABHULA: A veld fire which broke out in the Somabhula area of Midlands Province last weekend left a local farmer counting his losses after destroying property worth more than USD90 000.
The inferno destroyed the farmer’s makeshift warehouse, three brand new tractors, trailers and a heap of hay bales that were earmarked for the commercial market.
The farm manager says they failed to control the fire as he noted that they got a call about the unfortunate incident while attending church.
“We got a call as we were attending a church service to the effect that our warehouse was on fire. We quickly abandoned church proceedings and rushed to the scene only to find out that our possessions were being destroyed in the inferno.
“We tried our best to put out the fire but it was already too late. We then informed the police and EMA who managed to attend the scene. Up to now, we don’t even know who started the fire.”
Farm owner, Enock Chidanhika who was visibly shaken said he was most affected that the burnt equipment had just been acquired.
“What pains me the most is that we had only acquired these tractors some five months ago. It was through the intervention of some stakeholders from abroad. We had embarked on a business of hay bales to supply farmers in the animal husbandry business.
“Our vision was to then target the farming season and start the planting using these tractors. All hope has since been lost as we were trying to do our part in supporting the President’s vision that Zimbabweans are masters of their destiny.”
Four lives have so far been lost while several properties were destroyed since the beginning of the fire season this year.
The loss of property worth USD90 000 reignites debate on the need for farmers to ensure their property and animals in case of eventualities and casts the spotlight on the dangers of veld fires.
The latest statistics released by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) reveal an alarming spike in fire incidences which have destroyed close to half a million hectares.