Malawi: Elephants Destroy Crops in Nkhotakota – 72 Households Food Insecure
27 MARCH 2021Nyasa Times (Leeds)By Stanley Nkhondoyachepa-Mana
Elephants from Nkhotakota Game Reserve have destroyed crops in villages bordering the reserve leaving 72 households food insecure.
The animals are said to have invaded crop fields in Kadam’manja Village, Traditional Authority Mphonde.
The elephants broke the wildlife reserve electric wire fence before destroying maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and groundnuts among other crops.
One of the victims, Elefasi Dakasheni, saidnearly four acres of his maize field has been destroyed.
“I have ca family to look after and with this, I have been rendered destitute, I appeal for food aid for my family,” he said.
Another victim, Esnart Elefasi, of Nzumani Village, T.A. Mphonde said one acre of her maize field has been destroyed.
“This has been happening year in and out, and when it does, African Parks does not help. My ground nuts field which I depended on for income has also been destroyed,” said Elefasi.
She appealed for help from well-wishers, saying she risks facing hunger this year despite putting much effort in producing food for herself.
Village Headman Kadam’manja bemoaned the destruction of crops by elephants in his area.
“I have been going to African Parks Officials throughout to complain about what their animals are doing here, but they don’t help.
“They just take photos but they do not come back with any help; they even tell us bluntly that we don’t compensate victims on wild game destruction,” he added.Close
However, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Park Manager, Samuel Kamoto the problem is most prevalent in the eastern part of the reserve because people have cultivated next to the part which attract the animals.
“The animals smell the crops when they mature and this attract them to break the fences and destroy the crop because they are just next to the reserve,” he said.
Kamoto said so far, two elephants which had broken the fence were killed on Monday but said the park was doing more to prevent such incidences.
The park manager ‘unfortunaley African Parks does not compensate victims of wild game crops destruction,’ observing the law is silent on the matter.
He however said the park is building Kenya Fence in hotspots which he said had proved effective in preventing animals from coming out of Parks elsewhere.
Kenya fence is an electric fence which prevents animals to cross its demarcation.
Mphonde Extension Planning Area (EPA), Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator, Wildon Munthali Mchina said the elephants have destroyed 11.3 hectares of maize crops, 3.3 hectares of cassava, 0.24 sweet potatoes and 1.2 hectares of Groundnuts.