CROPS DESTROYED

Trouble looms in Mwingi as camel herders invade farms

A deadly altercation is expected as growers drive away livestock grazed on their produce

In Summary

Previous altercations have ended in deadly clashes 

Farmers ask Kalonzo and the government to intervene

 

A farm that was destroyed by camels that grazed on crops in Ngetini village in Mwingi North, Kitui county
DESTROYED: A farm that was destroyed by camels that grazed on crops in Ngetini village in Mwingi North, Kitui county
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Ngomeni MCA Eliud Mutati at Ngetini village within his ward where camels invaded farms
ANGRY: Ngomeni MCA Eliud Mutati at Ngetini village within his ward where camels invaded farms
Image: LINAH MUSANGI

 

Trouble is brewing in Mwingi North after camel herders invaded farms to graze their livestock on crops.

Acres of crops have been destroyed in Ngetini village after more than 20 camels invaded farms and grazed on maize and destroyed beans and other crops.

Such previous invasions of farms by camel herders, some from as far as Garissa, Wajir and Isiolo counties, have ended in deadly altercations between farmers and the pastoralists.

It is said the herders are often allowed to graze their animals inside the Mwingi Game Reserve during the dry season when there is little pasture.

But the camels on many occasions bend up in people's farms where they eat and destroy crops.

Ngetini village which is in Ngomeni ward of Mwingi North constituency borders Tana River county.

Residents have asked authorities to intervene. They say the herders have invaded their farms and were grazing their animals on crops.

John Kithuka whose farm was invaded by 20 camels was left with nothing to harvest after crops were destroyed. He said acres of pigeon peas and green grams were destroyed.

"I could have harvested food worth Sh150,000 shillings but the camels have destroyed everything," Kithuka said.

Like many Ngomeni farmers, Kithuka depends entirely on his farm to feed his family. He said the invasion has left him with nothing to look forward to.

“Our only hope of survival is farm work but the camel herders have left their animals to destroy our farms, how do we survive now?" he said.

The 60-year-old man also attributed the rise in Kala-azar disease in the area to the many camels that are often grazed in the park.

The disease is caused by a parasite called Leishmania donovani and has a high fatality rate.

Over 100 people have been hospitalised across Ngomeni, Kyuso and Tseikuru wards with the disease while many others are nursing the ailment at home because they lack funds to seek treatment.

The disease which is characterised by swelling of the stomach, loss of appetite, shedding hair among other symptoms is an illness common in areas where camel herding is common.

Kithuka said the farmers were also fearing for their lives, saying the herders are often armed and ready to even kill farmers who drive away their camels.

“If one meets them while they are herding their camels on our shambas, they can easily kill him, so we are living in fear,” Kithuka said.

He urged Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who hails from the region to seek a lasting solution to the matter.

“A fight will break out when farmers start driving away the camels and killings will be reported in this region. So I urge Kalonzo Musyoka to step in and rescue us,” he said.

Area MCA Eliud Mutati urged the national government to intervene.

“The problem of camel invasion has always been here with us. We are pleading with the government to take action so every community can live in peace,” Mutati said.

 

Edited by P.O

Camel invasion has led to losses in the area as they have fed on farm produce leaving farmers hopeless
CAMEL INVASION Camel invasion has led to losses in the area as they have fed on farm produce leaving farmers hopeless
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
A herd of camel at John Kithuka's farm in Ngomeni, Kitui county
CAMEL INVASION A herd of camel at John Kithuka's farm in Ngomeni, Kitui county
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
John Kithuka at his farm where a herd of camels have fed on all his farm produce
CAMEL INVASION John Kithuka at his farm where a herd of camels have fed on all his farm produce
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Camels taking a rest at Kithuka farm in Ngomeni, Kitui county.
CAMEL INVASION Camels taking a rest at Kithuka farm in Ngomeni, Kitui county.
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Kithuka watches helpless as camel destroy his farm produce
CAMEL INVASION Kithuka watches helpless as camel destroy his farm produce
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Kithuka pleaded with regional leaders to come to the farmers rescue as the invasion left them with nothing to harvest
CAMEL INVASION Kithuka pleaded with regional leaders to come to the farmers rescue as the invasion left them with nothing to harvest
Image: LINAH MUSANGI