Report By: Henry B. Gboluma, Jr
Gbarpolu County – Residents of Wealiquah town in Gbarma district have aborted their farms after elephants attack the area.
The wildlife ruined all the farmers’ crops, which is a major source of income for the locals. Attacks by elephants occur annually in the county, creating setbacks for local farmers.
The town, which has over a thousand inhabitants, is located in Yanyaryah Clan, in Guijah Chiefdom, an hour drive away from the district seat of Gbarma.
Prior to last year’s farming season, Wealiquah town was the highest suppliers of farm produce but that suddenly stopped due to attacks by wildlife exposure, according to the General Town Chief, Momo G. Kamara.
“Last year, all the farms that we made, nobody got [harvest] rice from there. Elephant carried all,” Momo explained. “We decided not to make farm this year until we see how we can fight these elephants.”
“From our gardening, we used to get money. So, I planted cassava up to 25 acres; I planted pineapples but everything [has] gone.”
He said the source of income for the community is getting scared and parents are unable to pay their kids school fees.
“We have not registered our children [for school]; we will talk to the teacher to credit us for our children to go to school this year,” Kamara said.
Famata Armah, the town’s women leader, said through the support of an international NGO the community women planted rice, palms, cassava, rubber and pineapples, but all were damaged by the elephants last year.
Due to the scarcity of food compounded by elephants’ attacks, residents are now purchasing a bag of 25 Kg of rice for LD$3,350 from a town an hour drive away.
“Right now, if you walk on the road, you will see the holes we digging. That not diamond we digging but that bush yams we can be digging here for us to eat. So, we want for government to really to help us,” Famata said.
For his part, the youth leader Moses G. Komah said the government must intervene to stop the attacks by the wildlife while requesting for food aid.
Meanwhile, Benny McCarthy, principal of the public school in the area, said, “As of Friday, August 31, 2018, not a single child has registered for the 2018/2019 school year.”
He said last year 100 students enrolled at the school.