Archive for Farmers

Organization of The Day: Elephant Pepper Trust

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

When human-wildlife conflict results in the deaths of wildlife, the outcome can be far-reaching for those populations. Such situations are further amplified when they lead to human deaths as well. Human-wildlife conflict can be caused by a number of factors, but is most commonly agriculture-related. In Africa (and Asia), farmers often find themselves in a gruesome battle defending their livelihood against relentlessly hungry elephants that raid their crop fields.

From beating drums to deploying fireworks to attempting to chase elephants away (which frequently results in human deaths), farmers are often left sleep-deprived and profitless from their agricultural investments. That is until 2002 when stars aligned and a chance meeting between Australian businessman, Michael Gravina, and elephant biologist, Dr. Loki Osborne, resulted in the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) and gave new hope to small-scale farmers plagued with elephant problems. Methods for deterring the hungry elephants are only effective if they involve minimal costs and provide long-term solutions. EPDT struck gold when they discovered that elephants are inherently repelled by the smell of chili peppers.

Chilies are easy to grow as they survive in some of the more extreme conditions found in Africa that other crops cannot survive in, are money-making cash crops, and are unpalatable and revolting to most mammal “pests”. EPDT trains local farmers how to implement the use of chilies into their farming practices in a number of ways. Chilies can be planted to create an elephant-repellent buffer zone between valuable crops and wooded elephant habitat. Farmers can also saturate simple string fences with chili grease to discourage elephants from entering. At night (the time when crops are typically raided by the giant pachyderms), briquettes made of chilies and elephant dung can be burned to keep elephants away. Though often skeptical at first, once farmers see the success of these methods playing out for their neighbors, they become sold on these sustainable ideas and seek help from EPDT immediately.

Currently, the Trust is working with communities in areas of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia with great success, and uses Educational Demonstration sites to educate farmers about their methods.To increase benefits from the use of chilies, EPDT has joined with African Spices Pvt Ltd. to buy surplus chilies from the farmers which are then used to create delicious chili-based, “uniquely African” blends that are sold commercially as an organic, fair trade product. In this way, the farmers profit from the crops that have been protected by the chili methods, from the chili crop, and from the peace of mind brought to them as a result of all of these factors. Elephant conflicts become almost non-existent, preventing the death and injuries of both humans and elephants in a win-win situation.

10% of profits from “Elephant Pepper” products are given back to EPDT to be used for improving and expanding their program to more farmers and communities. This program also provides a way for the global community to become involved with elephant conservation by purchasing the delicious products and supporting the cause. EPDT’s problem animal control methods help to eliminate serious human-wildlife conflicts and can be used to do the same in other areas of the world where elephants and humans have been battling to the death.

To learn more, please visit their website

With the Help of Outside Money, Locals and Apes Have Finally Reached an Agreement

Posted in Africa: Primates with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2010 by kendickjerkins

In Uganda the conflict between apes and humans is one that causes one species to win at the cost of the other, and the loser is almost always the apes.  Recently, however, farmers in Kyamalera have learned to coexist with our closest relatives.  Apes, which used to be thought of as a commodity for bushmeat and the pet trade, are no longer just thought of as a source for poaching.  The tourism trade has bolstered the local economy by enabling locals to sell crafts and locally grown goods to the influx of outsiders with money.  The Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust has given these farmers start up money to begin making crafts to sell instead of poaching as a means of subsistence.  In Hoima where most of the forests are privately owned, organizations such as the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust have been giving money to 84 different private owners of the forests to provide them with an alternative means of survival that does not require encroachment into the forest.

A dead chimpanzee lying on the forest floor.

An example of local crafts that can be found in Uganda.  With the influx of support, local farmers are able to sell goods such as these rather than poaching the great apes.

A bushmeat market where most poached animals are sold so that local citizens can survive.

To read the full article click here

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