Daily Nation (Kenya)

Mr Julius Mbaya

By DAVID MUCHUI
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Farmers living along the Mt Kenya Forest are now reaping the benefits of an electric fence that has helped keep off elephants that earlier prevented them from venturing into horticulture as they would destroy crops.

Mr Julius Mbaya, who has lived in Marimba village on the edge of Upper Imenti Forest since 1986, could not grow anything besides tea due to daily invasions by elephants.

His one-acre piece of land that was free of tea bushes lies next to the Nyayo Tea Zone belt and has been idle until 2016 when an eight-strand solar-powered fence was erected.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

He said when he attempted to grow French beans and potatoes before the fence was erected, he lost the entire crop despite several sleepless nights warding off the jumbos.

“KWS owes me Sh116,000 from the damage caused by elephants in 2014. Due to the fencing, we have now diversified from tea farming and we can rest at night without fear of elephant attacks. From the vegetable sales, I was able to build a permanent house,” the farmer said.