Did you know that Sunflower plays a significant role in Elephant conservation?
An Elephant is said to be the largest animal walking on earth. In Kenya, stories of elephants being seen wandering in herds are common in areas close to national parks and many a time, they are easily recognized by their trunks which they use to communicate and handle objects.
Today as we mark World Elephant Day, we not only want to celebrate Elephants but also most importantly, raise awareness on the importance of creating a peaceful coexistence between human beings and animals. Such a task can only be achieved through coming together with local communities to support the conservation efforts and protection of our wild animals.
For years, BIDCO Africa Limited has championed Agripreneurship amongst the small holder farmers through partnerships that have seen over 30,000 farmers given offtake contracts to grow sunflower and soybeans.
“Our desire to create economic empowerment of farmers across the country led us to the Kenya Wildlife Services for a unique partnership that primarily seeks to address human elephant conflict while also providing solutions to the respective communities and KWS through sunflower farming,” explains BIDCO Africa’s Group Director Chris Diaz Chris.
Amongst the areas listed by KWS as Human Wildlife Conflict hotspots is the Amboseli ecosystem where animals in the wild depend heavily on dispersal areas which lie outside protected areas.
In conserving wildlife, we partner with the private sector and communities adjacent to national parks and reserves. The partnership with BIDCO in Amboseli Ecosystem is beneficial to elephant conservation in Kenya and also improving the livelihoods of communities in the area by minimizing the rate of human wildlife conflict whilst giving them an opportunity to generate income from the sunflower and honey (value addition),” narrates KWS Director General Kenya Brigadier (Retired) John Waweru, EBS.
On this important day in the World of Environment and Wildlife Conservation, BIDCO and KWS are proud to report that so far over 200 small holder farmers have signed up and planted sunflower in Oloitoktok where the crop is currently in harvesting stage.
In the partnership, BIDCO provides ready market for the sunflower seeds plus continuous technical support to the farmers while KWS helps identify suitable locations and areas affected by human elephant conflict.
Close to 90% of human wildlife conflict experienced in the Amboseli ecosystem involve crop raiding, with Elephants being the main perpetrators accounting for over 80% of such destructions.
A renowned conservationist, Chris says that the fight to protect Elephants doesn’t stop at farming but continued education on the need to protect the wildlife and their habitats for the future.
“As we celebrate the gains made thus far and the desire to keep the elephants alive to promote tourism, we must start educating the youth too to embrace conservation as a way of life so that we inculcate a culture of living together responsibly with everything within our environment.
Happy World Elephant Day!!