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Minister: Form committees to mediate farmer-pastoralist disputes

Minister: Form committees to mediate farmer-pastoralist disputes

DEPUTY Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, has told local government authorities to form arbitration teams to resolve conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.

The minister’s call comes in the wake of emerging regular disputes between the two groups, causing serious effects in communities, including killings.

Mr Ulega issued the order during a visit to Nakiu Village in Kilwa District, Lindi Region on Monday this week after receiving complaints over reported several conflicts in the district involving farmers and pastoralists.

At the meeting, villagers condemned the Police Force in the District for not taking immediate action to stop the situation even after getting information. The villagers informed the minister that major cause of the conflicts was pastoralists grazing their cattle on farms. Many pastoralists in the region are migrants and that they have been grazing their cattle on farms causing destruction of crops, something which irritate farmers.

Following the complaints made by several farmers, the deputy minister instructed government officials from the grassroots to set up arbitration committees so that they can deal with the disputes at early stage before they become serious and more harmful.

He called on the Police Force in the district to ensure that they do justice to everyone in order to avoid blames that they favor pastoralists more than farmers.

He also advised the district officials to come up with a good plan for earmarking pathways for livestock so that they do not cross farms. Kilwa District Commissioner, Zainab Kawawa, instructed her executives to ensure that the committees are formed within a week in implementing the directives.

Over cattle passageway, Ms Kawawa issued one month ultimatum to veterinarians in collaboration with pastoralists and farmers to ensure that such routes are put in place to address a problem of livestock entering the farms.

In addition, the District Commissioner also urged pastoralists to dig water ponds for their livestock as another measure to avoid clashes with farmers.

Prior to Minister Ulega’s visit to the District, a few days ago some pastoralists were killed as a result of similar conflict. 

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