Four counties to end feuds triggered by lack of pasture

Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Laikipia county which has been occupied by armed herders, May 9, 2017. /THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/KATY MIGIRO
Cattle on Ol Maisor cattle ranch in Laikipia county which has been occupied by armed herders, May 9, 2017. /THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION/KATY MIGIRO

Governors of Laikipia, Baringo, Isiolo and Samburu counties are set to launch a joint economic initiative that will end resource-based conflicts in the region and propel it to economic prosperity.

The initiative is anchored on modernising pastoralism through the establishment of feedlots and fodder preservation and synchronisation of the development of water sources, roads and learning institutions.

It has a major backing from key development partners and the national government.

“There is a big donor and the national government interest in the initiative after the counties showed their seriousness by incorporating their county integrated development plans into the initiative,” Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi said yesterday in a statement.

Under the initiative called the Amaya Triangle Initiative, each governor is expected to commit his county to conserve and grow enough fodder as a drought mitigation measure.

This is expected to end movement of livestock in search of elusive pasture.

On Wednesday, Muriithi will host governors Stanley Kiptis of Baringo, Moses Lenolkulal of Samburu and Mohammed Kuti of Isiolo in Nanyuki town, where they will meet the technical team which has been working on the structures of the initiative.

The technical team with membership drawn from each of the counties has been identifying areas of common interest in their county integrated development plans and manifestos.

“The technical team has already identified the shared areas of interest in the manifestos of respective governors, who are expected to commit themselves into developing them,” Githuku Mwangi, Muriithi’s economic and political adviser, said.

The Wednesday meeting is a culmination of several consultations by the county bosses on ways to bring to an end constant conflicts triggered by search for pasture, water and cattle rustling.

They first met on the sidelines of the governors’ retreat in Diani, where they agreed to set up the technical teams to work out the structures of the initiative.

The four governors say if they work as a team, they can easily lobby for more funds from the national government and development partners to achieve the goal.

Mwangi said there is a consensus among the planning team members on the need to commercialise pastoralism by raising the value of livestock though modern technology.

The technology include establishment of feedlots and fodder reserves as well as investing in the entire value chain.

“We cannot continue keeping livestock the way we have doing it for ages. With diminishing pasture, our only survival is to modernise and commercialise pastoralism,” Mwangi noted.

The Laikipia government in partnership with the National Drought Management Authority and IlNgw’esi Group community ranch are piloting on a 100 acres of grass in Nandung’uro, Laikipia North subcounty.

Also on the table is a plan to introduce a joint artificial insemination initiative to improve on the cattle breeds and beef quality.

This will allow the counties to venture into joint livestock or beef marketing.

Also in the offing is the development of some economic centres on the common borders like Mugie Corner, Louniek, Oldonyiro as well as the establishment of joint feedlots and water dams.