The workshop on the IGAD transhumance protocol begins in Torit.
On Wednesday, a two-day high-level conference in Torit, Eastern Equatoria State, began the signing, ratification, and adoption of the IGAD Protocol on transhumance (seasonal grazing).
The meeting’s goal is to examine measures to regulate livestock movement throughout the area in order to minimize disputes. It also attempts to raise awareness among legislators so that they can solve cattle movement concerns in the area.
Ambassador Mohamed Elduma, the interim head of the IGAD Mission in South Sudan, told Journalists following the formal inauguration at Hotel Torit on Wednesday that the conference would enable the timely execution of the process to expedite the free movement of pastoralists.
“Our discussion today is about domestication and ratification of the IGAD Protocol on Transhumance,” he said. “IGAD officials came a long way to agree on the protocol to ease cattle movement throughout the region.”
“Specifically, we are here in Torit for the historical backdrop of this city, and as the governor indicated, over 90% of the people here are herders and cattle owners, with just 10% being farmers.”
Amb. Elduma said that the convention is critical for Eastern Equatoria State, which borders Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.
“Eastern Equatoria state borders three other IGAD nations, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya, and cattle go between those countries and South Sudan,” he noted. “As a result, these agreements will promote such movements while also providing mechanisms to organize corridors to avoid disputes between livestock herders and those governments.” South Sudanese will profit from this procedure.”
Eastern Equatoria State Governor Louis Lobong Lojore expressed gratitude to IGAD and the ministries of foreign affairs and animal resources for selecting his region to host the high-level conference.
“There must be legislation to govern the transportation of our cattle.” Fear of the unknown arises because there is no legislation and simply because these livestock keepers are really rowdy,” he said.
“They create difficulties, they move in the manner they want, they enable cattle to go to people’s fields, but there will be no worry if there is a law.” So you, politicians, must-pass legislation.”
Governor Lobong also said that the government is capable of erecting water sites in remote places for animals to drink and graze without generating conflict.
According to Makwei Malual, Undersecretary of the Livestock Ministry, South Sudan has suffered multiple conflicts caused by cattle movement both domestically and internationally, and the protocol will serve as a foundation for eliminating the constant bloodshed caused by the uncontrolled movement of cattle.
“The IGAD council of ministers of foreign affairs basically endorsed this protocol and its road plan, and the protocol was handed to the ministry of livestock and fisheries to submit, and it will later be delivered to IGAD headquarters,” he added. “The specialized center for pastoral area development was entrusted with developing the transhumance protocol, which facilitates unrestricted movement as well as safe and orderly cross-border mobility of cattle in search of water and pasture.”
Malual said that South Sudan participated in several of the consultation sessions that resulted in the drafting of the transhumance protocol.