Farmers living inside Liuwa National Park in Munde area are demanding a K24, 000 as compensation from African Parks for 116 sweet potato mounds that were destroyed by wild animals between the 2013/2014 farming season.
Speaking on behalf of other affected farmers, Nalwalo Simangolwa, who is also acting village headman, explained to ZANIS that Munde area had been hit by hunger not because of the poor rainfall pattern but as a result of animals that kept destroying their crop fields.
Mr Simangolwa blamed African Parks, the company managing Liuwa National Park, for introducing new animals into the park hence the demand to ask for compensation from the company.
He explained that villagers lived in harmony with animals that were in the park before the introduction of elands and buffalos.
“The people living in Munde are really suffering from hunger every year because of these animals which were brought by African Parks. When we asked them whether they can find ways in which to control their animals, their response was that it was not their responsibility to control these animals but it is us the owners of the fields,” Mr Simangolwa stated.
Mr Simangolwa wondered as to who was more important between animals and humans, adding that they would never leave the park for the animals.
The traditional leader has since appealed to government and The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to assist the people of Munde to alleviate the hunger situation that had been caused by wild animals.
And Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Liuwa National Park Ranger, Safely Mulala, said there was no policy on compensation when animals destroy crops.
Mr Mulala said the ZAWA Act No. 12 was silent on compensation and only gave powers to kill an animal when it became a danger to society.
He advised the farmers in Munde area to fence their fields to prevent animals from grazing their crops.