Jumbos shatter bumper harvest hope for farmers
With the current heavy rainfall being experienced in Ganze sub-county in Kilifi, farmers have expressed optimism of a bumper harvest.
Their hopes are even higher because there are no reported cases of fall armyworm invasion in the area.
This offered a reprieve to farmers who have witnessed six consecutive failed seasons. This hope is, however, fizzling out due to the invasion by marauding elephants across the sub-county.
Over 250 acres of maize plantation have been wiped out by the marauding jumbos.
Some of the maize was at knee-length while others were fruiting.
It signals another calamity that will lead to food insecurity in the region.
The wandering jumbos have been on the rampage, causing massive loses amounting to millions of shillings.
With the over 500 straying jumbos still having a field day in the farms, Ganze may never walk out of the relief food-dependent tag. The residents now threaten to kill the jumbos if Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will not drive them back to Tsavo East National park.
It is believed that the straying jumbos are trailing their historical migratory routes from Tsavo East National Park to Arabuko Sokoke forest along the areas which have now been occupied by residents. Some of the areas affected are Migujini, Munago wa Dola, Midoina, Goshi, Kavunzoni, Mrima wa ndege, Jila, Ndigiria, Milore and Muryachakwe.
Joseph Katoi from Migujini village in Bamba division is a worried man after all his five acres of maize crops were last week destroyed by the marauding elephants. His crops were at the knee height stage.
“We have been receiving good rains since April and we were confident this time we will have a bumper harvest. We worked tirelessly in our farms and doubled the acreage so that we can be food secure. When we got wind of the presence of the elephants we devised some ways to keep them away but all in vain,” Kato said.
Mary Furaha from Mitangani village said the jumbos have taken the village hostage. She said people cannot go about their businesses as they roam day and night.
“They drink water in the same waterpans we fetch water for domestic use. We cannot graze our livestock for fear of being attacked by the rouge elephants. In short, our lives are in danger,” she said
Apart from destroying maize crops, the jumbos have paralysed learning in some schools.
The animals which have been strolling day and night in residential pathways and around school compounds for more than three weeks have disrupted learning as school children are forced to report to schools very late and leave too early while accompanied by their parents.
For two weeks now, the straying jumbos have been grazing and roaming around Migujini Primary School.
The area also has over 130 elephants grazing in three herds.
Migujini primary school senior teacher Omar Muhema said over 50 pupils have been missing school while the rest report to school as late as 9am and leave at 3pm.
Area MP Kenneth Kazungu who visited some of the schools said he will demand suspension of learning in all the areas affected by the elephants until the jumbos are driven away back to the park.