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Cattle keepers and farmers to resolve “grazing rights” conflicts

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Sunday, August 11, 2019

A meeting between local leaders and cattle herders in Lobonok, Jubek on May, 2019

The National Dialogue Steering Committee says plans are underway to organize a peace and reconciliation conference between cattle keepers and farmers in the Equatoria region.

This conference will mostly target Bor cattle herders and local people in Jubek and parts of Torit states.

In June, local leaders representing pastoralists and farmers –with the help of the National Dialogue Secretariat -agreed to form a body that will agree on routes and facilitate the movement of cattle out of farming areas.

This is to implement a series of Presidential decrees that were issued since 2015 –ordering cattle keepers to leave farming land and return to their states of origin.

President Salva Kiir’s orders were in response to the outcry by farmers who accuse pastoralists of herding their animals into farms –where they destroy crops and livelihoods.

He directed the organized forces to facilitate the return of the cattle keepers, but nothing has so far been done.

On Friday, Dr. Lual Achuek, the Coordinator of the National Dialogue Secretariat said that a conference involving cattle keepers and farmers will soon take place to encourage compliance and peaceful coexistence.

He said the committee is soliciting support from the government and the donors to help organize the conference.

“We have been discussing the concept of the workshop for the leaders of the cattle camps from greater Bor who are in Equatoria in order to sensitize them that they are not being pushed away, but only being asked to allow the farming communities to resume their activities, and that they will be facilitated to go back to greater Bor,” said Dr. Lual.

Last month, elders from Lobonok area of Jubek state complained that heavily armed cattle keepers were still living in the farming areas of the County.

They said the continued presence of the cattle in their areas pose a great threat to keeping the farmlands safe for people and production.

The cattle keepers that have remained in Equatoria farming lands are mainly; Bor, Mundari, Atuot, and Aliab communities.

A meeting of the National Dialogue Secretariat earlier agreed to form a committee that will be composed of representatives from the six communities of Terekeka, Jonglei, Jubek, Gbudwe, Western and Eastern Lakes, that will work with the organized forces to facilitate a safe and harmonious return of the cattle keepers.

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