KATIMA MULILO – After having to deal with consecutive drought and welcoming the rainy season, farmers in Zambezi region have to worry about crop damage in their fields due to floods.
They also constantly have to worry about the crippling damage to crops due to wild animals. There have been a number of reports from January 2020 up to date regarding crop damage by wild animals such as buffalo, elephants and hippos that graze in their fields.
Bornwell Kachana Sinvula, a resident of Muyako had to resort to shooting a female buffalo among a herd that destroyed his field.
“The animals wrecked about five hectares in which I had planted maize and a case was reported at the Salambala conservancy. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism was informed and collected the buffalo meat. They informed me that it is state property and I will be compensated for damage caused to my field,” he stated.
Romeo Muyunda, the spokesperson in the ministry of environment said so far, they have received 17 reports in areas such as Machita, Lusu, Masokotwani, Kano, Makanga (Mbambazi), as well as at Muyako in the Lake Liambezi area.
The animals causing havoc are mostly buffaloes as well as elephants.
He further stated that the National Human Wildlife Conflict Management does not provide for compensation, but rather to offset losses caused by wildlife and at the same time build self-reliance for communal crop and livestock farmers. The government takes moral obligation to support or assist people who suffer losses due to wildlife but do not pay or cover for the full value of the losses.
He however stated there are those outside gazetted conservancy areas who will be paid by the ministry while those within conservancy areas will be paid by their respective conservancies as per the predetermined amounts.
Tariffs for crop damage are paid at N$250 for one quarter of a hectare and N$1 000 for a hectare.
*Marythar Shimwe is an information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) in the Zambezi region, based in Katima Mulilo.