By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, October 03, 2016 – RESIDENTS in the city on Monday returned to the fields after some little showers pounded the country’s second largest city on Sunday, hoping to take advantage of the rain season to produce food which has turned inaccessible to many.
Inadequate wages and massive company closures in the City of Kings – once the country’s industrial hub – have forced residents to resort to urban farming to supplement their food stocks.
On Monday, Bulawayo residents were busy preparing land to grow maize and sweet potatoes in little land portions on which they have grown maize for years.
Residents told RadioVOP that urban farming has become a solution following the demise of Bulawayo industries and they hope the rains will continue pounding the city.
“I woke up as early as 5 am today to start preparing land for farming here because failure to do so I may find myself starving come next year,” said a 65 year-old grandmother.
She said following the collapse of industry in Bulawayo, her married children were finding it hard to fend for their families, let alone her, leaving her to starve.
Another resident, Nobubelo Tshuma said she hoped city authorities would not destroy their fields as they are used to doing.
“We pray to our city authorities not to destroy our maize,” she said.
Urban farming is illegal under city by-laws.
However, it has been common practice among Bulawayo residents and other parts of the country following the collapse of the industry.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), more than 800 million people around the world practise urban agriculture and it has helped cushion them against rising food costs and insecurity, although the UN agency also warns that the number of hungry people has risen to over one billion globally, with the “urban poor being particularly vulnerable.”