Land in rural communities is not just a means of livelihood but also a source of wealth, tribal identity, social peace, and also source of conflicts. This paper addresses the issue of pastoral land tenure in relation to their livelihood security in Sudan. The overall objective is to trace the changes in land tenure system and its implications on pastoral communities in Gedarif state, eastern Sudan. In Gedarif like elsewhere in Sudan accessing pastoral land was governed by the system of communal rights. Although, this system has some shortcomings such as lack of transparency and democracy besides being gender bias as woman can access land only through their fathers and husbands, it has proven its efficiency in securing livelihood and reducing conflicts in the country. Several land acts have been introduced since the colonial era and during the national successive governments aiming to provide the state full authority to control land resources and undermining the traditional communal right of pastoral people. Among these was the unregistered act of 1970, this act has given the government the full power to grab and reallocate the land to the public and private sectors most were not from Gedarif state, without taking into account the communal right of utilization and access to land, which is the major source for pastoral livelihood. As a result unplanned mechanized farming has expanded rapidly at the expense of traditional right causing rigorous implications and threat on pastoral economy. These implications include: livelihood insecurity, drop out from traditional sectors, collapse of pastoral adaptation, poverty, rural urban migration, weakening the role of tribal leaders and acute conflict over limited resources.
Key words: Land tenure, livelihood, poverty, pastoral economy, Gedarif, Sudan.
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