Crops in some villages in Mahuwe in Mbire district were destroyed by a large herd of elephants that moved in and ate the maize, sorghum and other crops.
Hopes of farmers in the district for a bumper harvest are being dashed, following the invasion of elephants which is destroying crops, mainly in wards 4 and 6.
Chief Matsivo of Mbire, born Chinheza Chigwajara, said the elephants were causing havoc in the district, adding that people watch helplessly as crops are grazed to the ground.
Communities are always up at night in fear of the elephants and the chief wants the authorities to quickly intervene to ensure that farmers harvest their crops safely.
“We are appealing for the Government to intervene here in Mbire because elephants are destroying our crops,” he said.
“People are afraid to harvest their crops. The problem needs to be addressed quickly. We do not want to continue losing our crops like this. Safety of people is needed. We appeal for authorities to intervene and take action over the matter.’’
Headman Mr Oliver Gurupira of Ward 4 in Mahuwe said the most affected areas were not expecting anything from the fields.
“The elephants are destroying my crops and disturbing our farming routine,” he said. “The situation is worrisome. It is a tough and stressful life to watch helplessly while elephants are destroying crops.
“Some of the organisations came here to assist, but still the situation did not change. Children and adults are afraid to walk alone.”
Mrs Retina Mutara of Chirunya village said they tried to move and establish homes far away from the elephant territory to no avail.
“Not only are the elephants destroying their crops, but the villagers are living in fear as the wild animals are also terrorising their homesteads,” she said. “The animals are putting our lives in danger. We are tired of moving and most of the villagers have stopped farming.
“We prepare the land, plant and weed only for the crops to be destroyed by wild animals grazing all the crops. We are not expecting anything from the fields.”
Mrs Chirunya said last week, one person was killed by the elephants and action should be quickly taken to protect the majority of people in the district.
The villagers are appealing to the Government and ZimParks to come up with more hands-on interventions to remove the elephants from the villages before it is too late.