Crops trampled

Villagers here said that despite the rains, many of them would suffer poor harvests as a result of damage done by elephants.

The security fence around a local safari area was vandalized during the infamous land reform programme, allowing elephants to roam freely in the areas where small scale farmers live.

"The jumbos are destroying our crops and this means we may need food aid from NGOs and the government this season. Our chances of harvesting are very slim," said Tichaona Katuruza of Musoromuchena.

They blamed farmers resettled under the chaotic land reform programme for vandalizing the boundary fence and poles, which they sold in nearby Chinhoyi.

"Before the land reform we used to live alongside the animals, but the resettled farmers came and destroyed the security fence and the animals are causing a lot of damage. The new farmers are very destructive because they poach and kill animals," said Gilbert Ndangana, a local villager.

Efforts to get assistance from Parks and Wildlife Management were futile as the villagers were told that it was the responsibility of the Makonde Rural District Council and local Communal Areas Management Programmes for Indigenous Resources to attend to the problem.

CAMPFIRE officials said their coffers were dry and could not afford to hire scouts to control the animals and repair the security fence.

“We are broke, but we are working out something to address the problem," said a CAMPFIRE official who declined to be named.

Post published in: Agriculture

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