South Sudan

Dry season cattle migration is an important source of conflict between pastoralist and farming communities. Local government in South Sudan tries to combat this issue. (fragment)
Director, camera and editor | 19'10 | 9'00

cattle migration


During the dry season cattle keepers move with huge herds of animals across state and county boundaries in search of water and grass. Unregulated and without respect for diverse livelihoods, the cattle migration brings discord, devastation and death when the pastoralists and farmers communities meet.

In 2012 local government of six counties in three states took the initiative to discuss regulation and collaboration regarding cattle migration management. With the help of VNGI it resulted in the Marial Bai Agreement.

Marial Bai


The Marial Bai Agreement protects diverse livelihoods, crops and cattle, and promotes peaceful relations between communities during the dry-season cattle migration. It regulates arrival time of the cattle camps from Gogrial and Tonj States in the agricultural areas of Wau State, procedures for migrating cattle camps to establish relations with host communities and to agree on a camp location away from fields and villages, and it sets a compensation price for damages to crops and animals to avoid retaliation by by affected communities. Rather than killing roaming cows as was the practice before, they are now “lodged” in a “hotel” until the owner comes and pays the “hotel bill”.