Above: Mr Wilson Balesa share his testimony at the KNCHR Public Inquiry into insecurity in Garsen town, Tana River County (Photo: Courtesy © KNCHR 2016)
Tana River, Kenya: November 27, 2016: By Lynesther Mureu
The search for grazing land and the availability of almost ripe farm harvest continue to be a great source of conflict along the Tana Delta.The situation is further aggravated by the looming drought that has dried seasonal rivers and wells along the Delta belt and communities are now forced to move in search of food and pasture.
Wilson Balesa, a retired teacher narrated his ordeal that now causes him sleepless nights following an invasion in his farm in July 2016 that left him without a source of living. His 10 acres located in Tarasaa where he farmed beans, black eyed peas, tomatoes, pepper, maize and green grams is now bare.
His farm was invaded and his crops eaten and destroyed by animals that belonged to a herder community. The loss and damage to his farm was approximated to cost Ksh. 580,000 noting that a majority of his crop was ripe for harvest within a month or less just before the invasion took place.
Conflict between herders and farmers continue to escalate in the larger Tana River County as the effects of drought continue to penetrate in the region as is being reflected in other parts of the country.
The Tana River, which is a source of livelihood for pastoralists in Garissa, parts of Mwingi and communities in Tana River County also serves farmers who till cash crops along its banks.
A grazing bill presented to the Tana River County Assembly and is which is currently undergoing public participation, seeks among other things to create demacation of grazing and farming zones to reduce tensions amongst warring communities.