Rombo — AN influx of cattle in the Holili area of Rombo District is raising concern amongst local authorities and residents in the border precinct.
A sudden increase of livestock in the area, according to residents, is putting pressure on the existing veterinary services in the vicinity that lies along the Tanzania-Kenya borderline made up of Holili and Taveta townships.
"We are experiencing massive environment destruction including soil erosion, deforestation and cases of animals destroying crops, jamming roads and leaving cow dung along their trails," lamented some of the residents at Holili area.
They are bitter with the fact that already Holili suffers acute water shortage and they are now forced to share the scarce liquid
with animals. "People here are forced to cross into Taveta, on the Kenyan side of the border, to fetch water, others travel to as far as Moshi Town to draw water and transport it on trucks either for their own use or for sale," said Mr Saleh Juma, a resident of Holili.
Juma, a farmer who also keeps cattle, said despite the abundant livestock in Holili, cattle dips were almost non-existent and that the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) had set aside funds for the establishment of the badly needed cattle dips but he wondered why local authorities were not yet constructing the facilities.
The Rombo District Commissioner, Mr Peter Toima, said the water problems in the area are mainly caused by the dry spell, and the sudden influx of livestock, the DC recommended a joint meeting of area leaders to address the situation.
"There is also the need of local residents here to reduce the number of animals that they own but the area authorities must act to prevent infiltration of livestock from other areas or across the border, into Holili," said Mr Toima.
The DC called for proper land-use plan which will clearly earmark special areas for livestock grazing, land for crop-growing farms,
business and residential precincts. Mr Toima pointed out that, lack of such predefined land-use arrangements is what has been causing many parts of Kilimanjaro region to run into community conflicts, environment destructions as well as fuelling desertification of previously lush-green precinct.