Elephants degrade Senete fields (Botswana)


Tebogo Masuruke, The Daily News

Date Published

Makarichwa lands farmers near Senete were left empty-handed after their fields were destroyed by elephants.

Touring the fields on Thursday, Member of Parliament for Nkange, Mr Edwin Batshu said he came to witness the destruction made by the elephants following an outcry from farmers.

Mr Batshu said the destruction was a setback for farmers as they depended on farming for their livelihood.

He said last year elephants invaded the fields, living farmers empty-handed and were forced to abandon their field for their own safety.

Mr Batshu said the current damages were worsened by lack of rain so much so that farmers were now on the brink of abandoning fields. He said of the three fields he visited, farmers had planted in rows, something that government was encouraging, but the elephants had grazed on the plants only leaving stalks.

Mr Batshu appealed with the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism to come up with measures to control wild animals. He said the population of elephants had increased while some came from neighbouring countries fleeing from poachers.

One of the farmers, Ms Masica Masena said she ploughed three hectares of maize and sorghum last November and her plants were doing well. Ms Masena said recently when she came to check her field, she was greeted by an empty land infested with elephant dung.

She said for the past years elephants invaded their field in April, at which time the crops were ready to be harvested. She said then, they were able to salvage something after the destruction.

Ms Masena said the reason they planted early was so that they could harvest before being invaded by the elephants, but to their surprise, they decided to come early this time.

She appealed to government to come up with a lasting solution since farming was their livelihood.