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Losses for Kerio Valley farmers as baboons invade plantations

By Fred Kibor | Aug 17th 2016 | 2 min read
Eric Kiprono at his maize farm in Kapsiekwa, Elgeyo Marakwet. Warthogs, baboons and porcupines have destroyed acres of crops in the area. (PHOTO: KEVIN TUNOI/ STANDARD)

Warthogs, porcupines and baboons have destroyed crops in farms along the Elgeyo escarpment.

The animals targeted maize, potatoes and beans, with Kerio Valley being the most affected area. Farmers have been forced to keep vigil on the farms day and night in a desperate attempt to avert further destruction of crops.

“The situation is getting out of hand and if the invasion on our farms is not checked, then we will be forced to rely on food rations and we might not be able to send our children to school or pay bills because the crops are our sole source of income,” said Erick Kiprono, a resident of Kapsiekwa village in Kerio Valley.

Keeping vigil

He said baboons that come in troops of over 30 had also formed a habit of attacking women and children whenever they attempt to chase them away from the farms.

“We are also fearing for the lives of our families since the animals are so daring and can attack. The concerned ministry should help address this issue,” Mr Kiprono added.

Daniel Kemboi, a farmer in Kapteren village on the highlands, said they wake up as early as 4am to go to the farm because baboons and porcupines invade both at dawn and dusk while the others maraud farms during the day. “Keeping vigil has become our job nowadays. If you do not spend the whole day on the farm then one risks harvesting nothing. Baboons are notorious,” Mr Kemboi said.

He asked the Kenya Wildlife Service to find a lasting solution to the menace, saying they cannot kill the animals as it is illegal.

Area Kenya Wildlife Service warden Dominic Kilonzo said they had received information about the animals invading the farms and a team of rangers to help residents scare away the animals has been dispatched to prevent further destruction.

“We are teaming up with the locals to scare away the animals because baboons are hard to control and the farms are set adjacent to their habitats. It is just in the harvesting season the animals invade farms,” Mr Kilonzo told The Standard yesterday.

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