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Farmers lose sh1b produce to Queen Elizabeth Park animals

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th March 2010 03:00 AM

FARMERS in Bukonzo West constituency in Kasese district lost farm produce worth over sh1.6b to Queen Elizabeth National Park wild animals in 2009.

FARMERS in Bukonzo West constituency in Kasese district lost farm produce worth over sh1.6b to Queen Elizabeth National Park wild animals in 2009.

By John Thawite

FARMERS in Bukonzo West constituency in Kasese district lost farm produce worth over sh1.6b to Queen Elizabeth National Park wild animals in 2009.

This is contained in a recent report by Karughe Farmers’ Partnership, a Kasese-based farmers’ advocacy organisation.

The organisation’s leader, Yafesi Baluku, said they interviewed 830 farmers in February and found out  that they lost 1,446,439kg of groundnuts, maize, cotton and soya beans, worth over sh1. 6b.

He said the damage, covering 2,980.75 acres of crops, took place in Katholhu, Bukangara and Ruhingo areas in 2009.

“Out of the projected 1,681,450kg of harvest worth sh1.8b, these farmers were only able to realise 303,081kg, worth sh313.9m,” says the report.

 The report notes that loss loss of crops to wild animals has been experienced over the years and is the major factor behind perpetual poverty in Bukonzo West constituency.

The organisation recommended that the national park be sealed off from the farming area, either with an electric fence or a trench.

“The Government should in future consider compensating farmers whose crops are lost to wild animals if strict control measures are not put in place immediately,” the report adds.

Handing over cheques of sh200m to districts neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park recently, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) boss, Moses Mapesa, said the authority had partnered with the UPDF to guard the farms neighbouring Queen National Elizabeth Park.

The sh200m was part of the 20% of the park gate collections that UWA is obliged to remit to communities neighbouring the park.

Mapesa proposed activities such as bee-keeping, pepper-growing and trench-digging along the park boundaries to keep away the wild animals.

Farmers lose sh1b produce to Queen Elizabeth Park animals

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