A win for elephants over avocado farming in Tsavo


Tsavo and Amboseli national park are known for their large population of elephants. Being the heart of Kenya’s wildlife heritage, it has faced threats from poachers and other wildlife predators. Environmentalists have been battling with KiliAvo Fresh Ltd for months after purchasing 180 acres of the park in hopes of venturing into avocado farming.

Kenya is thriving in the export of green gold-avocado leading it to rank 8th globally with an income of Sh14 billion last year. The industry is tapping in money widely. The government had to intervene last year to restrict greedy farmers who were exporting immature fruits, painting a dire picture to the importers.

Mr. Harji Mavji and Suresh Kerai, with their dream of being part of the lucrative venture, faced hurdles in their newfound investment after conservationists eager to save wildlife disrupted their plans. The investor and his business partner were given a license by The National Environment Management Authority office in Kajiado. Despite being issued with the permit, the environmentalists have objected to avocado farming in the area as it will interfere with the elephant migration corridor.

The land where the investors had purchased, Kimana in Tikondo region, is known to be the link between Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park. Subdivision plans among communities have been ongoing for quite some time, leading to the degradation of wildlife in Amboseli. Former Kenya Wildlife Director David Western complained about it last year and said,” The subdivision of the Amboseli ecosystem into Kaputei-like settlements reflects a large threat to Kenya’s rangelands”.

One conservationist Richard Bonham said,” While avocados may be nutritious and delicious, they have no business being farmed in the midst of Kimana wildlife corridor. There are many other much better locations for such developments”.The license issued by NEMA was withdrawn by the National Environment tribunal last week, which was a win for both the elephants and conservationists.

Ms. Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect, said that the ruling has sent a message to developers eyeing wilderness lands. Ms. Kahumbu was the first to raise the alarm about the fencing of the wildlife corridor.

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