Veld fire management and the resettled farmers of Bubi district in Zimbabwe : A community participatory approach.

Author: Msipa, Robert

The consequences of increasing application of fire in land use practices and land use change and the corresponding increase s in huge veld fire outbreaks within the resettlement areas since the advent of the fast Track Land Reform period in Zimbabwe has led development and environmentalists to question the role of community participation. This has come at a time when the discourse of community participation has dominated the entire contemporary development landscape. This study sought to explore and determine the nexus between veld fires and the resettlement farmers of wards 13 and 23in Bubi district with the paramount view of establishing the realms of community participation in veld fire management.Data presented in this study was collected through the administration of a standard questionnaire to key informants from various government officials and local leaders of wards 13 and 23, and by conducting focus group group discussions with the resident farmers. The major finding of the study is that there is superficial participation of communities in veld fire management, an issue which if left unchecked will continue to significantly contribute contribute to high number of fire incidences and the corresponding damage. It emerged from the study that farmers are proposing for the development of community based veld fire control strategy with local structures taking a leading role as opposed to external involvement. The provision of technical and financial advice was deemed vital in only strengthening the resolve of the farmers in managing the veld fires. The study recommends that the use of fire must be incorporated in the formulation of sustainable based fire management programmes