*OWES REGION’S FARMERS ALMOST HALF-A-MILLION IN COMPENSATION
Government owes farmers in the Nkange constituency close to half a million Pula in compensation for crops and livestock destroyed and killed by wild animals.
In Parliament this week, Nkange Member of Parliament (MP), Dr. Never Tshabang asked the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng, if she was aware some farmers have been waiting on such compensation since 2009.
In response, the Minister admitted the government currently owe 114 Nkange farmers, with the debt standing at P461, 527.
However, Kereng insisted she was unaware of any outstanding payments dating as far back as 2009.
“We are not aware of any other farmers still owed before October 2018 as my ministry is currently paying farmers who are owed from November 2018,” revealed Kereng.
She added efforts are being made to accelerate the clearance of the compensation backlog before the end of the current financial year.
Nkange constituency is one of the areas in the country highly affected by incidents of human-wildlife conflict caused mainly by elephants and lions.
The animals regularly go on the rampage, destroying crops, field fences and boreholes while lions and other predators kill livestock.
With farmers having deserted their ploughing fields due to the animals, Dr. Tshabang further asked if government has any plans, either permanent or temporary, to help farmers return to their fields to resume farming.
Kereng responded that a wildlife base has been established at Xhabuke next to Nkange village, where officers from different wildlife stations are deployed to assist farmers on a daily basis regarding animal control.
Furthermore, she indicated that workshops are being held to sensitize farmers on human wildlife conflict issues and on the use of chili pepper, cage tarps and demonstration of spike slabs to deter elephants from damaging water installations.