Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
MANY villagers in Matabeleland North Province are now forced to guard their crops throughout the night to ward off warthogs that are invading their fields.
Speaking in a telephone interview, Umguza District Administrator Mrs Gloria Round, said her district was one of the affected areas.
“We received a formal report that elephants were becoming a menace but it later proved to be a false alarm. However, warthogs are terrorising the villagers and some people have lost most of their crops. This is becoming an annual phenomenon at this time of the year,” said Mrs Round.
Matabeleland North provincial chief Agritex officer Mr Dumisani Nyoni said most farmers were harvesting their crops before they reached maturity stage as a result of elephant and warthog menace.
“Most farmers have resorted to harvesting maize before it has firmed in the fields in an attempt to counter the warthogs and elephants, buffalo and other problem animals,” said Mr Nyoni.
He said Hwange, Binga, Bubi, Tsholotsho and Umguza were the worst affected adding that the human-animal conflict had become a perennial challenge for communities.
“This has become a perennial challenge, especially for communities that share a border with national parks. Animals sometimes skip the borders in search of food, and it becomes a problem when they escape from national parks as they terrorise villagers.”
Mr Albert Ncube, who is councillor for Ward 14 in Umguza district said many people in his area are spending nights in their fields guarding their crops to avoid possible losses.
“These wild pigs are causing us a serious problem. We cannot sleep at our homes at night. We have become nocturnal. We now sleep during the day as a result. We just have to keep watch at the fields at night, because when the warthogs strike, the damage is devastating,” said Mr Ncube.