April 16, 2021
Stray elephants have destroyed more than 400 acres of crops in five villages of Igava ward in Mbarali District, Mbeya Region posing food security threats.
The over 100 elephants traversed the area from Ruaha National Park,destroying maize, rice and sweet potatoes farms, putting villagers on acute food shortage track.
Ward executive officer Gaitan Madindo said other than destroying farms, the elephants caused no harm to the villagers and their dwellings.
Officials of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) visited the area to assess the damage from the jumbos and turning them back to the park, he said.
The villagers were unhappy with the amount of compensation that TANAPA offered, saying it is too small compared to the cost of preparing and maintaining the farms, and crop expectations.
“They want to pay the villagers around 20,000/- per acre, an amount that goes nowhere to compensate for the destroyed crops,” he said.
Ward councilor Nasoro Udesi appealed for support from Mbarali MP Francis Mtega to help farmers to be paid in accordance with the the value of the crops destroyed.
Farmers often enter into conflicts with the government when it comes to paying compensation as the money is too small and not paid on time, he stated.
Legislator Mtega visited the destroyed farms on Tuesday promising to work on the villagers’ concerns, linking the jumbo invasion with greater animal numbers at the park as well as rising habitation in the area.
“I will consult top government officials on possibilities of reducing the park size for the villagers to be given land for agricultural and other economic activities,” he declared.