Botswana has lifted a ban on elephant hunting citing growing conflict between humans and the animals which at times destroy crops.

Reports say critics of the ban imposed in 2014 were causing problems to small farmers and to those who previously benefited from hunting.

Botswana has almost 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi set up a committee last June to review the ban imposed by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014.

In February, the committee  recommended allowing  hunting again.

Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, in a statement, said the number of elephants and high levels of human-elephant conflict was increasing.

Surveys have shown that the elephant “range” that is how far the animals travel, has been expanding.

Elephants can be very destructive when they encroach onto farmland and move though villages, destroying crops and sometimes killing people.

Most of the country’s elephants live in the country’s northern region, roaming across borders into Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates the elephant population in  Africa to be 415 000, with the population having been decimated largely by poaching.

International campaigns to ban all ivory sales as a way to prevent illegal poaching have gained huge momentum, but there is disagreement over how to manage large, destructive elephant populations encroaching on human settlements.