Farmers in Nwoya desert their farmlands due to stray elephants
The persistent invasion and destruction by stray elephants have forced hundreds of farmers in Nwoya district out of their farmlands. As it has been in the past seasons, elephants from Murchison Falls National Game Park stray into farmlands in Purongo, Koch Goma, Koch Lii, and Got Apwoyo Sub Counties and destroy several acres of crops.
These affected areas are situated near the Murchison Falls National Game Park which is home to hundreds of wildlife species including these notorious elephants.
The elephants either feast on maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, and rice or stamp on and destroy them beyond sprouting leaving farmers in losses.
The farmers say their efforts to control or drive the stray elephants away from their farmlands by banging containers, planting red pepper and chilies, tea and sim-sim have yielded no fruits because the elephants still attack their farmlands and destroy crops in plenty.
Much as the first rainy season in the area has set in, most of the farmers are reluctant to open up their farmlands or have shifted their attention to other economic activities.
Geoffrey Opiyo, a commercial rice farmer in Got Apwoyo Sub County mentioned that in the last season he lost 20 acres of rice which were eaten up and stamped on by some of the stray elephants and yet he had injected millions of shillings into farming, expecting to harvest one hundred bags of rice but only to got ten bags. He is now relaxed and unwilling to farm this season saying that all the money he had expected to make last season was not made as planned.
Last week, two adult elephants again invaded Waimon`s half acres of mango seedlings gardens and destroyed all the sprouting trees.
However, Hanji Bashir, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) says they have set in place a number of interventions to control the wildlife from straying from the parks.
They include constructing electric fences and digging holes around the parks among other advisory supports to the farming communities to control the straying elephants.