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UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY TO COMPENSATE KARAMOJA FARMERS AFTER ELEPHANTS DESTROY CROPS

A farmer left in dispair by destruction of her maize field by elephants in Karamoja

UGANDA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY TO COMPENSATE KARAMOJA FARMERS AFTER ELEPHANTS DESTROY GARDENS

By Goodluck Musinguzi & James Muya

Farmers who border Kidepo National Park in Karamoja Regionwhose crops were destroyed by stray elephants will be compensated for their losses, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has assured.

In the Karenga district, the most affected farmlands are in the sub-counties of Sangar, Kapedo, Kawalakol and Lobalangit.

Ivan Mbabazi Batuma, a Board Member of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said the district authorities should help the affected people write their claims with evidence of the destroyed gardens.

“The law allows compensation to the affected families but most people are unaware that with evidence of crop destruction, a claim is sent to UWA through the district authorities. We shall be able to compensate them because we don’t want to hear human-wildlife conflicts increase as it puts our animals at risk,” Ivan Mbabazi said.

Alfred Opul, the Karenga district production officer

Alfred Opul, the Production Officer of the Karenga district, said in the past efforts to reach the Uganda Wildlife Authority to forge ways of curbing this had failed since they are not cooperative.

At the moment, over 100 acres of maize fields have been destroyed yet the crops are less than 2 weeks to harvest.

Karenga residents pondering what to do after elephants reduced their season’s efforts to nothing

“We thank Mr Ivan Mbabazi Batuma, one of the Board Members for assuring us that the law allows compensation. This week we are going to the field to collect more evidence and submit it to the Head of Kidepo National Park. This raises the hope of farmers who had become desperate,” said Alfred Opul.

Opul further said with the current hunger situation biting in the region, the households are likely going to continue being food insecure if nothing is done about the elephant menace.

“We hope UWA works on long-term remedies so that Elephants and Buffaloes don’t access people’s gardens,” he said.

UWA has said it will compensate the people for this destruction

The Elephants and Buffaloes destroy farmlands as far as Karenga, Kaabong, Kotido, Abim, Agago and Kitgum in the Acholi region.

Opul estimated that on average, 12 bags of maize are harvested per acre in the Karenga district and currently, a cane of 3 kgs goes for shs5,000. That would mean the 100 acres destroyed is about1,200 kgs translating into basins of maize worth an estimated sh20 million.

Wild animals from Kidepo National Park have become the major source of food insecurity in the Karenga district.

About Musinguzi Goodluck

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