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Elephants destroy farms in Upper East – food shortages loom

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Naba Sigiri Bewong speaking at the festival

The Paramount Chief of the Sekoti traditional area in the Upper East Region, Naba Sigiri Bewongis anticipating famine and hunger within his area this year, due to the incessant invasion of elephants on people’s farmlands.

Speaking at the celebration of this year’s Tenglebigre Festival at Sekoti last week Saturday, he said the elephants have been wreaking a lot of havoc on farmlands at that particular enclave every year, leading to poor harvest.

This, the former president of the Upper East Regional house of chiefs said, has put fear in farmers in his area to visit the farm, revealing that the few farmers who attempted farming had their crops destroyed.

He said the devastation caused to farms and cash trees, such as shea butter, has left the youth with no alternative but to venture into illegal Small Scale mining, popularly known as ‘Galamsey’.

He, therefore, used the platform to appeal to central government to put in place mechanisms to ward off the invasion of the elephants since his report to the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Nabdam has not yielded the needed result.

“I have repeatedly raised the issue of elephant invasion here. The elephants keep multiplying in number and I can boldly say they are over 600 in the forest. They come into the community to drink water from our dam. This year, over 80% of our farmers are afraid to farm on the lands for fear of their crops being destroyed or eaten by the elephants.

“The very few farmers who attempted to farm had their crops eaten by the elephants. I made a report to our District Chief Executive and she came with NADMO officials and visited the affected farms to see things for themselves.

“Since then, the farmers have not been given any form of relief. Hunger is staring us in our faces this year, because we have not been able to farm. We do not have any alternative means of livelihood apart from farming. No wonder the youth are now busy on “Galamsey”. Can we blame them? Shea trees have been destroyed”, he lamented.

He, however, expressed appreciation to the government for the provision of dams in his area, but was quick to bring to the attention of government that the contractor working on the dam near his house has left site, due to government’s inability to pay him for work done.

He thus appealed to the Northern Development Authority (NDA) to endeavour to do something about the situation.

Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for the Nabdam constituency, Dr. Mark Kurt Nawaaneassured the NabaSigiriBewong of the NDC’s commitment to fighting the invasion of the elephants on the people’s farms.

He said he has constantly been lodging complaints to the sector minister concerning the problem, but has not seen any action yet.

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