KAYONZA – Resident around the Akagera national park are protesting the continuous destruction of their crops animals that stray out of the park’s boundaries.
Florida Nyirabrindwi, one of the biggest maize growers, and a resident of Shyogo village in Rwinkwavu sector, said that the animals destroyed a vast chunk of her maize plantation.
“My maize field is now totally destroyed. Buffaloes and hippopotamus have eaten and trampled on it, leaving me with virtually no chances of harvesting anything,” she lamented.
The residents say that despite various appeals to the authorities, very little has been done.
“We have constantly complained about the park animals to the authorities. So far nothing has been forthcoming. Consequently we are bracing for very hard times ahead,” said Jean Habiyakare a resident of the area.
“We could be killing the animals ourselves, but it is illegal and no one wants to go to jail. Authorities must work on the issue or re-locate us,” he said.
The Executive Secretary of the area Niyibizi Nabyera, said that the problem was getting out of control, and appealed for a quick solution to save the population from starvation.
“We have been encouraging the people to grow cereals like maize. But take a look at all the maize that has been destroyed. It is indeed a hopeless situation for the farmers,” he said.