By: Adokorach Joyce, Speak fm
The proximity between the Murchison national park and some villages in the langi sub-region is too close. This provides for wildlife to roam around its neighborhood untimely. Unfortunately this is a threat the agricultural sector, especially for small scale farmers.
In Laganji village, Tangi ward Nwoya district, residents sleep in their farms to guard their crops against destruction from Elephants.
John Michael Acire, is a resident and also a farmer in this village. The elephants have destroyed a quarter of his maize garden for close to three times. He now has to sleep in the garden to prevent further damages.
“This is the third time now in my garden and this is third time was after I have harvested my maize. The first time they destroyed badly but we sent them away before it was morning, now the second time they invaded the garden and sent us away. The third time they came for in the same garden but we managed to send them away. They destroyed my sister’s farm instead. Especially when it is windy the elephants move here too frequently and many with their calves” Says Michael
Alex Ojera is another farmer with similar grievance. Alex states that the elephants destroyed one acre of his farm before he started guarding it. His garden is 3kilometres away from the park but still the elephants moved through other gardens and ended up destroying his groundnut garden.
He now he has to spend the night in the garden staying awake to prevent further destruction from the elephants.
“My one acre of groundnut that was destroyed by the elephant was going to give me at least 18 to 20 sacks. That was my target because in the past I used to harvest that much. My garden is 3 kilometers from the national park. The elephants come past other farms and destroyed my farm then went back. Unfortunately before I started digging it due to dry season the elephants came and destroyed everything including that of my neighbors.” Alex explains.
The outcry from the duo is a voice of many other residents whose tireless efforts reap nothing in the hands of the wildlife. Local authorities too are aware of the damages caused by these animals
Bosco Ojok, the LC I chairperson Laganji village cited that the attacks by the elephants has become too rampant and his village is at a very high risk. He further noted that these elephants move whole through the nights, day in day out.
“Pertaining to the destruction by the elephants in Laganji, these elephants come at 6pm and leave at 6am in the morning. They normally come in great number ranging from 15 herds to 35. Most of the crops they destroy are groundnuts in granaries undergoing post-harvest production. Until now the elephants destroyed over 20 farmlands. This is because the owners of the farms resorted to sleeping in their gardens to guard their crops.” Reveals Mr. Ojok, the LC1 chairperson
Tangi ward in Nwoya district is among the local communities bordering the Murchison national game park which has a total of approximately over 300 herds of elephants.