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Zimbabwean Urban Gardeners Outraged as Authorities Cut Down Maize Crops


Urban management specialists say planting crops in certain areas must be regulated to prevent soil erosion and the accumulation of silt, among other detrimental effects that can arise from city farming

Many residents of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare and the country's second-largest city, Bulawayo, have been up in arms recently over the destruction by authorities of maize crops planted in urban gardens to supplement food supplies and stretch minimal incomes.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is holds a political majority on the Harare and Bulawayo city councils, but has protested that it had nothing to do with the slashing of urban maize crops. It accused police in Harare of destroying the technically illegal crops to tarnish the council's image.

Yet urban management specialists say planting crops in certain areas must be regulated to prevent soil erosion and the accumulation of silt, among other detrimental effects.

For more on this debate VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere spoke with Shamiso Mtisi, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, and Precious Shumba, coordinator of the Harare Residents Trust.

Shumba said Zimbabweans must raise crops wherever they live as a matter of survival.

Maize meal or "mealie meal" is a staple of the typical Zimbabwean diet.

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