Nomadic Pastoralists from Northern parts of Tanzania who cross onto the Kenyan side seeking greener pastures during times of drought, are now forced to pay hefty grazing fees on daily basis.
That came to light here during the official launch of a new booklet on ‘Application of Indigenous Knowledge for Environment Conservation,’ compiled by the Media Aid for Indigenous and Pastoralist Community (MAIPAC).
“Following the long spell of drought which hit the Northern Zone last year, many of the pastoralists in Longido and Ngorongoro, the Districts bordering the neighboring country of Kenya, crossed to the other side with their livestock, seeking greener pastures but it did cost them greatly!”Mussa Juma – Executive Director of MAIPAC, during book launch.
According to Mussa Juma, once there, the local grazers realized that Kenya has a wide stretch of wilderness like Tanzania.
“There, each piece of land is claimed, there are no vacant plots, so they were forced to pay daily grazing fees depending on the number of cattle in their menagerie,” Mussa maintained.
The MAIPAC front man said the grazers also discovered that all the grazing areas in Kenya featured artificially planted Napier grass whose seedlings were essentially uprooted from Tanzania in the first place.
“The pastoralists had to learn it the hard way, that they can always create their own pastures for future use, in case of drought by planting the elephant grass on selected patches of land,” the MAIPAC official pointed out.
The drought spell of 2022 killed 129,786 animals in the Monduli District.
In the neighboring District of Longido nearly 60,000 animals, including wildlife and livestock perished due to famine.
The rather serious drought spell took toll onto most parts of the country in 2022.
For instance, the Great River Ruaha in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania dried up.
The drought was said to be among the negative effects of global warming and resulting climate change.
To address that, the media organization conducted research on how to apply indigenous methods to offset such calamities and from the studies in three districts of Longido, Monduli and Ngorongoro, the booklet was published.
The Minister of State in the President’s Office, in-charge of Regional Administration and Local Government, Suleiman Jafo officially launched the booklet on ‘Application of Indigenous Knowledge for Environment Conservation,’ in Arusha.
“It is high time we go back to our own time tested and proven indigenous knowledge conserving the environment because everything else seems to have failed and this is a global problem,” Jafo pointed out.
The newly hatched nature-based conservation initiative titled, ‘Forest, Water and Environment Conservation, Using Indigenous Knowledge,’ sets out to address climate change problems using nature-based solutions.
MAIPAC is the focus organization which implements the project in partnership with the Longido District Council, Ngorongoro District Council, Monduli District Council, Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) and the Civic and Legal Aid Organization (CILAO).
The ‘Forest, Water and Environment Conservation, Using Indigenous Knowledge,’ project is supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) through the GEF Small Grants Program and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.