Musese Irrigation project under elephants invasion

16 Mar 2015 12:00pm
MUSESE, 16 MAR (NAMPA)- A herd of elephants have again invaded the Musese Irrigation project ,destroying crops and part of its fence there.
The project, situated 70km west of Rundu in the Kavango West region’s Musese Constituency, is one of the six Green Scheme projects in the region.
The Musese Constituency Councillor, Joseph Sikongo, said on the NBC Rukavango radio call-in programme on Monday that apart from the irrigation project, the elephants have also been wrecking havoc in other villages destroying subsistence farmer’s crops within the constituency since early this month.
He said a herd of about 30 elephants overnighted within the Musese project, destroying and browsing on the maize crops.
The Musese Constituency Councillor stated that poor harvest prospect might be expected from the project as the elephants, including birds which have been abundant in the area, have destroyed the crops.
“If these elephants continue to destroy crops in the project, people might face starvation because these are the same crops that are used for drought relief aid,” the Musese Councillor said.
Sikongo indicated that two Environment and Tourism Ministry officials stationed at the Musese are unable to attend to all cases of human wildlife conflict and proposed that the Ministry consider recruiting grade 10 and 12 drop-outs to attend to such cases.
According to him, other villages where elephants invaded crops since this month includes Tjara, Nzinze and Mahenzere among others.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Musese Irrigation Project, Sakka Ferreira, told this agency on Monday that the elephants destroyed over 10 hectares of maize crops.
Ferreira indicated that some parts of the fence around the project were also vandalised by the elephants, adding that if the elephants continue to pose danger to his employees and his produce, he will be left with no choice but to put down one so as to scare others away.
He said the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) officials in the region, who have since set up a camp at Muses, have been scaring the elephants to move away but they kept coming back.
The elephants are suspected to have come from neighbouring Angola, and crossed into the country via the Okavango River.
Last year, a herd of eight elephants encroached the Musese project and destroyed crops and a fence at the same project.
They eventually had to shoot one elephant before the rest trekked back to Angola.