Scores of farmers in some parts of Kiharu Sub-County, Murang’a County are frustrated lot after monkeys invaded their farms destroying crops.
The farmers feared that the destruction of their crops will subject them to hunger in the near future and called on the relevant authorities to drive the monkeys back to the forest.
One of the affected farmers, Kamau Munyeki told KNA that the primates have caused him heavy losses saying they usually invade his farm in Kogoini village at least thrice a week destroying maize crops, mangoes and macadamia.
“The monkeys have been here with us since I was a little boy. We used to coexist and they rarely visited our farms. But lately they have been destroying maize, beans, and bananas. Strangely, they also enter our kitchens and eat all the food they find there,” observed the farmer lamenting: “I work hard in my farm and plant crops only for the animals to come and eat the maize before they mature.”
Another resident Elizabeth Kinyuti recalls an incident that happened recently where the monkeys attacked her and torn her clothes as she accompanied her child to school. “The monkeys are fond of attacking us elderly women as we take children to school. The government should come to our rescue,” she said.
Waithera Mwangi, who stays a few meters from Munyeki’s homestead stated that the monkeys also affect her poultry farming. “When they come to ‘steal’ maize from my neighbour’s farm, they jump onto the roof of the chicken house which frightens the birds and also die due to stress. Per day I lose up to 50 chickens because of the monkeys,” alleged Waithera.
The residents pleaded with the County administration and the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to intervene and save them from incurring more losses. “The government should revise the wildlife laws and allow farmers to deal with animals that interfere with their farms,” appealed Waithera.
In 2018, the county government opted to lay traps for the monkeys but the initiative failed.
By Anita Omwenga and Joseph Kiguta