Clarisse Larlombaye was nearly ruined when a herd of cows got into her rice field one night. The tiny 900-square-meter plot, outside the U.N.-run Gondje refugee camp in lush southern Chad is the sole source of income for Larlombaye and the two other Central African refugees she shares it with.
In recent years, Larlombaye and her co-farmers each have gotten an average of 225 kilogrammes of rice per year from their small plot. Larlombaye said she and her family usually eat two-thirds; the other third she sells for around $.75 per kilo at local markets. But the marauding cows left her with just 70 kilos last year, barely enough to feed her and her family.
Larlombaye’s brush with catastrophe is all too common in southern Chad, where 60,000 Central African refugees compete with local residents, and with each other, for land. The growing crisis parallels escalating tensions in eastern Chad between 250,000 Darfuri refugees and local residents over scarce water and firewood. Ravenous cattle intruding on farmland is not a new problem in Chad.
But incidents are becoming more frequent and contentious, especially in and around the southern refugee camps.
Read the rest at Inter Press Service.