NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – Members of Parliament drawn from pastoralists communities in Kenya have thrown their weight behind the establishment and adoption of an IGAD Protocol on Transhumane that will guide the easy movement of pastoralists and their livestock in the seven countries within the IGAD region.
According to Mandera West MP Adan Yussuf, who is also the Chairman of the Livestock Sub-Sector Committee in Parliament, the group of MPs numbering 100-plus fully support the establishment of the protocol and are ready to influence any legislation needed to back it up.
“You all know that pastoralists have been criss-crossing these borders for many years and continue to do so. However, this protocol will be there to support, legalize and facilitate their movement across the borders. This will help stop incidences such as the recent one where our people lost when their cattle were auctioned in Tanzania,” said the MP adding that parliament is also working on a Bill to establish the Livestock Development Authority.
He was speaking at the opening session of the IGAD National Policy and Legal Experts workshop in Naivasha that is mandated to come up with the draft protocol that will then be presented to Ministers and Heads of States of the IGAD region for adoption.
IGAD’s Transhumance expert Japheth Kasimbu says the main aim of the protocol is to address threats and challenges that affect pastoral ecosystems within IGAD member States.
It is expected to facilitate formal livestock cross-border mobility in the region and establish transhumance corridors for the facilitation of cross-border pastoralist movements.
Their support for the protocol was also echoed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The need for pastoralists to move from one region to another in search of pasture and water is paramount to the very survival of transhumant pastoralist communities. There is need therefore to resolve arising disputes amicably. We expect that the transhumance protocol will address the development challenges related to issues such as trans boundary diseases, border trade, joint resource mobilization and utilization, animal theft and conflict,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Peter Wamunyu Kamau.
The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) region comprises seven Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda covering an area of 5,209,722 Km2, with an estimated population of 238,990,000 people.
Livestock is a major driver of the region’s economy, contributing 57 per cent of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP) and supports 70pc of the population in terms of livelihood and employment. Most livestock are kept in arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) areas, which are dominated by the pastoral communities.
According to IGAD/ICPALD estimates, the region has 520 million livestock of which 242 million (35pc) are small ruminants.