• By Sam Oduor
Over 500 farmers in Masasuli Village in Lwandeti Ward, Matete, are appealing to the government to help them drive out monkeys that have been, for the third year in a row, destroying their maize crops and leading them to huge losses.
A farmer, who stays near Masasuli Primary School where the monkeys are ravenously plundering farms, described the menace a blunder to their food security and economic empowerment and called for immediate action against the loose wild animals that are not only destroying maize but also other crops such as bananas and vegetables.
“The monkeys moved out from Nzoia River after people cut down trees which used to be their home and food and migrated to our farms. They now hide in sugarcane plantations from where they attack our maize crops and steal food from homes,” the farmer, whose part of land is covered in eight acres of maize, lamented.
The farmer said that they have tried chasing the animals away using dogs to no avail.
“We also try reaching out to the local government but our plight falls on deaf ears. The monkeys are wasting a lot of our time used in scaring them away. They are also a scare to school children and women, ” he added.
Mr. Peter Mulati, another devastated farmer with three acres of maize, emphasized that human encroachment into the monkeys’ habitat is the cause of all this.
“I am a conservationist and I understand that once humans beings encroach into and destroy the habitat of animals, they will sure answer back. Our appeal is to the Kenya Wildlife Service to come and carry the animals away so as we get a permanent solution,” he said.
The conservationist noted that the yield from the crops will be poor this year since the monkeys are feeding on the budding maize and destroying them completely, something that has been discouraging farmers from the activity.
Other farmers affected are Anthony Mulati, whose banana farm was swept clean by the monkeys apart from the destruction in his maize farm; and Eglay Situma, whose maize crops have been reduced to desperate stalks.
The area assistant chief Thomas Luvonga would really like the farmers plight be attended to in the shorted time possible.