The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) has distributed more than 300 sickles in Lupane to aid residents in the cutting of grass as the fight against veld fires scales up in Matabeleland North province.

Incidents of veld fires are becoming more frequent in the province with the Gwayi area and those along the Hwange-Victoria Falls highway having presented the latest fire cases. Although the cause of the veld fires is still under investigation, EMA has identified areas that are prone to veld fires outside the forestry and parks estates.

A total of 300 sickles have thus been distributed in Lupane and are mostly used by women and youths to cut grass for thatching purposes.

EMA Matabeleland North Provincial Manager, Mrs Chipo Mpofu Zuze said the cutting of grass is expected to result in reduced incidents of veld fires in the province.

“As a province, we ensured that we intensify on programmes that reduce biomass considering that last year we had a lot of heavy rains. So far roughly we had some 6000 hay bales and 3000 thatching bundles, so we can safely say the community engagements are very important,” Mrs Zuze said. 

With temperatures soaring in the province, most areas are now more prone to veld fires. EMA is still engaging the communities that share borders with the forestry and parks estates, while it continues to search for more effective mechanisms to reduce veld fire incidents in the province.