Chronicle (Zimbabwe)

 12 FEB, 2021

Elephants’ menace, farmers worry about yields

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

ELEPHANTS believed to be coming from South Africa and Botswana have invaded some villages in Beitbridge district, destroying crops and the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has since sent teams to the affected areas.

The worst affected villages are close to Shashe and Limpopo Rivers on the borders with Botswana and South Africa respectively.

The elephants are reported to be coming from national parks in the neighbouring countries.

According to a member of the Disaster Rapid Response (DRR) committee in Ward 15, Mr Albert Masiya, the jumbos have invaded Tshapongwe, Mapithi, Tshambombela, Toddy, and Dumba areas, in Beitbridge East.

“This is a blow to the villagers, considering that most were expecting bumper harvests after adopting the Intwasa/Pfumvudza initiative. The hardest-hit farmers are those at Tshapongwe, where people are not only worried about crop yields but are living in fear of being attacked. We need a long-term solution to this problem,” said Mr Masiya.

In Beitbridge West, the jumbos are reported to have destroyed crops in Ward 6, Makhakavhule Malala, and Mzingwane and in Ward 7 around the Masera area.

Beitbridge’s Civil Protection Unit (CPU) focal person, Mr Jahson Mugodzwa said reports have been made to Zimparks to intervene.

“We have raised the issue with the Zimparks officials, and we are expecting to see action on the ground, to manage this wildlife and human conflict,” he said.

Beitbridge East MP, Cde Albert Nguluvhe said he had also received reports about a herd of 30 elephants that is destroying crops iTshambombela area.

“When I visited the area last week, I also heard about the community’s plight and I will follow up on the current interventions with the relevant authorities,” he said.

The wildlife officer-in-charge of Beitbridge, Mr Bonizi Manuwere said a team has already been sent to the respective areas.

“We are going to the ground to ascertain the nature of the problem pending further action,” he said.

The food security situation in most households in the district is reportedly dire, and Government and its partners have been able to deliver aid to close to 15 000 families.

Chronicle is reliably informed that a total of 4 057 small-holder farmers planted crops on 416 hectares under the Intwasa/Pfumvudza initiative since the start of the 2020/21 summer cropping season.

An additional 2407 hectares were planted through the traditional farming methods, with maize covering 976,24 ha, sorghum, 941,44 ha, and pearl millet, 489,54 ha.