Rangeland resource conflict in northern Kenya & southern Ethiopia
Household-level surveys revealed that conflict over land and water among pastoralists in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia is relatively rare, according to the study Resource conflict in the rangeland: evidence from northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia (Research Brief 04-08-PARIMA 2004, 4pp) by PARIMA (Pastoral Risk Management). Resource conflict in this region appears to be associated more with the rise of nontraditional land uses, especially crop cultivation in streambeds and valley bottoms traditionally used for grazing and watering herds, rather than with any growth in herd size associated with livestock cycles or growing pastoralist populations. Traditional pastoral communities tend to have fewer resource-related conflicts than communities where there is an increase in crop cultivation. The incidence of resource conflict is not related to herd size. The traditional pastoral system seems to be more capable of mitigating resource-related conflicts and resolving them when they do occur. Such conflicts are more frequent and less easily resolved where land-use patterns are shifting away from traditional extensive grazing systems towards more diverse land-use systems incorporating cultivation in addition to grazing. Policies aimed at conflict management should focus on building effective institutional arrangements in such transition areas without undermining indigenous institutions that are crucial to the peaceful utilisation of scarce rangeland resources in the region.