Laikipia, Baringo, Isiolo and Samburu Counties are set to launch a joint economic initiative that will end resource-based conflicts.
The initiative is on modernizing pastoralism through establishing feedlots and fodder preservation and synchronization of the development of water sources.
It also involves improving roads and learning institutions, among other projects across the counties.
“There is already a big donor and national government interest in the initiative after the counties showed their seriousness by incorporating their county integrated development plans into the initiative,” Laikipia governor NdirituMuriithi said on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Muriithi will host Governors Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) and Mohamed Kuti (Isiolo) in Nanyuki town where they will meet the technical team which has been working on the structures of the initiative.
The technical team with membership drawn from each of the counties has been identifying areas of common interest in their county integrated development plan and manifestos.
“The technical team has already identified the shared areas of interest in the manifestos of respective governors who are expected to commit themselves into developing them,” said Githuku Mwangi, Muriithi’s economic and political advisor.
The Wednesday meeting is a culmination of several consultations by the county bosses on ways of ending constant conflicts triggered by the search for pasture, water and cattle rustling and moving the region forward economically.
They first met on the sidelines of the Governors’ retreat at Diani together with some development partners where they agreed on setting up of the technical team to work out the structures of the initiative.
The four governors believe that as a team, they can easily lobby for more funds from the national government and development partners to achieve the goal.
The initiative has also attracted the interest of development partners such as World Bank, DfiD, Commission for Revenue Allocation, UNDP, FAO and the national government.
According to the advisor, there is a consensus among the planning team members on the need to commercialize pastoralism by raising the value of livestock sector by embracing modern technology such as the establishment of feedlots and fodder reserves as well as investing in the entire value chain.
“We cannot continue keeping livestock the way we have been doing it for ages. With the degraded pasture, our only survival is to modernize and commercialize it,” Mwangi noted.
Under the initiative dubbed the Amaya Triangle Initiative, each of the governors is expected to commit his county to conserve and grow enough fodder as a drought mitigation measure which should end movement of livestock in search of elusive pasture.
Laikipia county government in partnership with National Drought Management Authority and IlNgw’esi Group community ranch are already piloting on 100 acres of grass at Nandung’uro area in Laikipia North sub-county.
Also on the table is a plan to introduce joint Artificial Insemination to improve the cattle breeds and beef quality to allow the member counties venture into joint livestock or beef marketing.
In the offing also is the development of some economic centres on the common borders like Mugie Corner, Louniek, Oldonyiro as well establishment of joint feedlots and water dams.
Conservation of the Amaya and UasoNyiro basins are also in the proposal as part of addressing root causes of conflicts in the long term.