Opinion & Columnist

Looking Back: Farmers risk arrest for cutting resettlement fences

The Herald 04 February 1985

Communal farmers in Nyamatsanga and Nharira areas in Charter district have been warned of arrest if they continue cutting fences and illegally grazing their cattle in the nearby Chikomba resettlement scheme.

The warning was issued at a meeting of district administration officials recently following complaints by resettled farmers that neighbouring farmers were cutting their fences and trees as well as grazing their cattle in the scheme.

A peasant farmer who was caught cutting the fence was handed to the police.

Communal farmers claim that they let their cattle graze in the area because there was no grass elsewhere for their livestock. Many people had settled on grazing land because of overcrowding.


Cde Reward Bayela, the Agritex extension officer, said the farmers could overcome the problem by starting properly managed grazing schemes.

People in Manyene had raised more than $2 000 to start a grazing scheme, but the fence was stolen. Had the scheme succeeded, Cde Bayela said, Agritex would have extended the project.

The public, youth brigades and the special constabulary were urged to help the police catch the culprits.

The Chikomba resettlement officer, Cde Bruce Chiwara, appealed to the thieves to return the fence.

Lessons for today

As people settle in rural communities, special attention needs to be put on the welfare of animals both domestic and wild, so as to avoid human and animal conflicts over resources for survival

Pasture management systems are an essential element in communal settlements as this will ensure that domestic animals have enough food

The Government, through relevant departments, needs to also educate people in communal areas the importance of managing grazing lands

Grazing management is also an important factor in the management of soil, water and nutrients

Paddocks or reserved areas for grazing also help to overcome the challenge of grazing land, hence communities should have designated lands specifically for this


Communities need to invest in fodder production systems so as to reinforce their stock feeds and increase feeding options for the animals