It is a very prized fruit in the West but it threatens the survival of elephants. The lawyer is at heart of controversy in Amboseli in Kenya, near the Tanzanian border. In this place, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, a 73 hectare plantation emerged a few months ago in the heart of a corridor essential to wildlife.
Amboseli is a sanctuary for many endangered species, especially elephants. There is the national park, very popular with tourists, and all around the reserves managed by local communities. It is precisely here that we find the Kili Avo farm, this avocado plantation. “Kili Avo is right there. It is that brown spot in the landscape “, shows us Daniel Ole Sambu of the Big Life Foundation. “Lhe avocado plantation is right in the middle of the animal corridor. In this region we have over 2,000 elephants but Amboseli Park can only feed about 100 of them. “
More than a thousand elephants leave the park and go to the reserves where they find enough to eat. If they lose this space, they will lose their source of food and water and they will die.Daniel Ole Sambu
For conservationists, large-scale agriculture cannot be sustainable in this arid and climate-ridden region. It takes 1000 liters of water to produce a single kilo of avocados and this lack of water is another threat to pachyderms.
The Maasai, the local communities, are very worried. They live mainly from their cattle and tourism, a major provider of jobs and income. To save their way of life, they have to save these animals. That is why they created these protected reserves.
However, some Maasai have decided to sell their land to businessmen who now intend to profit from it. “Here it is a private landsays Jeremiah Shuaka Saalash, one of the owners of the Kili Avo farm. We developed this land because it had been fallow for a long time. About 2000 avocado seedlings have been planted. Everyone is looking to make money. We are new to the avocado market so we’re trying our luck “. In 2020, avocado exports grossed more than $ 127 million in Kenya.
If these avocado plantations were able to settle on land reserved for animals, it is because theThe owners have obtained authorization from the National Environment Authority, contrary to what is provided for in the territorial plan. Under pressure from local communities, this authorization was finally lifted. The owners have since decided to sue their critics. The court is due to deliver its verdict on Monday April 26. This decision is eagerly awaited by many investors who wish to set up other farms in the region, which would sign the death of the Amboseli ecosystem, in the shadow of Kilimanjaro.