By The COAST Reporter
The Government has advised farmers in Magarini sub county to start practicing commercial pasture farming in order to minimize conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.
Kilifi Deputy County Commissioner Peter Thiong’o has urged residents to take advantage of the influx of thousands of livestock into various parts of the sub-county and grow pasture for sale instead other than picking out fights with livestock herders.
Thiong’o confirmed that though thousands of cattle, sheep, goats and camels had thronged the area, causing anxiety among locals, who are pre-dominantly farmers residents should capitalize on the same and make money out it.
Locals had complained that the invasion of animals has destroyed their crops such as cassava and pineapples in the area and called on the government to drive away the pastoralists and their animals to minimize conflicts with farmers.
Thiong’o however, said it would be difficult to drive the animals out of the farms as some of the residents had formed the habit of leasing out parts of their land to the herders to graze their animals, which after exhausting the pasture move to other farms without the owners’ consent.
‘Instead of seeing the pastoralists as a menace, the residents should take advantage of the influx of livestock to start commercial growing of pasture and sell to the pastoralists,” he said.
He also urged the herders to respect the farmers and only drive animals into farms only after negotiating and agreeing with the landowners.
“We know that these herders have fled drought in their areas. I call on them to be respectful to their hosts even as I urge the locals not to take laws into their hands,” he said.
The residents claimed thousands of cattle, sheep, goats and camels had invaded many parts of Bungale, destroying cassava, pineapple plants and water sources.
“Apart from destroying crops, the animals are also competing for water with residents, and this has caused a serious water crisis in this area,” Mr. A village elder in Majengo/Kililu village of Wakala Sublocation, Mr. Emmanuel Kahindi,
One of the villagers and his family have so far been forced to run away from home after he slashed three heads of cattle belonging to the pastoralists.
“Unless this issue is conclusively addressed, there could be conflicts between farmers and the pastoralists, but we have been carrying out campaigns to ensure peace and harmony prevail,” he said.