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There is a knowledge gap on the relationship between land reforms & natural resource management.
What exactly is land reform?
It is the reallocation of rights to a more equitable distribution.
It involves land registration, recognition, restitution, redistribution and resettlement.
To be successful land reforms should incorporate environmental sustainability besides legal, social, economic considerations.
The policy has to take into account the prevailing & historic issues, the desired socio-economic development & the bio-physical environment.
Such policy development is non-linear & has to take cognisance of a complex of factors.
This study seeks to improve our understanding of this policy development process in the context of NRM.
Why Land Reform in Kenya?
Land inequalities and poverty are closely linked
T he regions with high land inequalities are also the ones with high poverty incidences, (SID, 2004).
Half of the ten causes identified by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSPs) have a direct linkage to land issues.
Land distribution in Kenya has been unequal and biased against women
Women contribute about 80% of labor force in agric. yet account for just 5% of registered land holders.
Causes of land inequalities:- colonial alienation, culture, inappropriate land reforms, legislations & institutions and land grabbing.
Why Land Reforms Cont’d
Increased degradation of natural resources in Kenya. For Kenya loss of forests and catchment areas has huge economic and social costs which translate to increased poverty.
Inadequate firewood for energy translates to higher costs and time for access.
Kenya’s woodlands found in the ASAL areas, wanton destruction may result in biodiversity loss.
In ASALs changing land tenure, sub division of group ranches and lack of policy direction are major threats to biodiversity conservation.
Why Land Reform in Kenya? cont’d
Regional inequalities are manifested through:-
Tenure insecurity - about 1/3 are under secure titles. The rest is under trust land with common hold tenure regimes & mainly within the Arid & Semi-arid areas (ASALs)
Land sizes - More than 1/2 of the total arable land is owned by 20% of the total population of Kenya.
About 29% of the Kenyan population is landless.
There also exists inequality in land distribution by its agricultural potential across the country.
Provincial Land distribution by potential Source: GOK, 2004 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Central Coast Eastern N.Eastern Nyanza R.Valley Western Provinces High Potential Medium Potential Low Potential
Links between Land Reforms and Sustainable Development
Land reforms can be a powerful strategy for promoting economic growth & environmental quality.
Reforms can provide poor people with the incentives to use their lands in a sustainable manner while also reducing poverty.
When households hold secure rights, they become better stewards of the environment through protecting & enhancing soil fertility, water quality & biodiversity.
Secure property rights can enable poor households to access credit to make investment and provide them with insurance against economic and social shocks.
Land & asset ownership enhances the voice of the poor and enables them to effectively participate in social and political processes.
Conceptual Framework Source: Own Conceptualization, 2008 Sustainable Development (SD) Land Reforms (LR) Sustainable livelihoods (SL) Goals of SD cannot be achieved with SL Land Reforms or Lack of it can undermine the environment sustainability SL cannot be achieved if environmental sustainability is undermined Environmental Sustainability
Experiences of Land Reforms in East Asia & Latin America
East Asian countries: Japan, China, South Korea & Taiwan were the fastest growing economies in the 2 nd half of 20 th C.
All these countries implemented highly equitable land reforms after World War II
These reforms helped reduce rural poverty, increase agricultural growth & laid foundation for rapid industrialization
In China, the reforms (collectivization) under the communist regime were disastrous –the famine of 1959-61. The agrarian reforms were later introduced in the late 1970s.
In Japan and South Korea, there was an upper ceiling on land size owned but there was compensation for former land owners.
These reforms gave farmers to invest in land improvements.
In L. America, land reform was mostly driven by political revolution & has not given sufficient access to land by the rural population because of elite capture.
Land Reforms in Kenya
The objectives of Kenya’s land reform are:-
Promoting Sustainable Land Management (SLM);
Improving security of tenure & governance;
Reducing poverty & increasing equity;
Enhancing economic growth.
Specific approaches to land reforms:
Land registration:- for formalising ownership & improving security of tenure with ultimate issuance of a title deed.
In Kenya, other aspects of reforms are often ignored.
Land redistribution:- involves transfer of land from those who have plenty or the government to the landless or tenants. It can take the form of;
Restitution/expropriation- it has rarely received political acceptability e.g. in Zimbabwe.
Land Reform in Kenya Cont’d
Land markets as land redistribution mechanisms are important in two ways (Mahoney et al , 2007).
It provide mechanisms for efficient allocation of land.
Valuation of land and real property is made more transparent.
Land markets are of 2 types; land sales or land rental markets.
A strong link has been shown to exist between secure land rights, NRM, land markets and economic prosperity.
Connection between titles, land markets & prosperity Access to credit Secure title More Security to Land Owners & Lenders More Demand for / and Supply of Credit More Investment in NRM Greater Productivity Macro Economic Growth Higher Land Prices & Higher Incomes Source: Mahoney et al., 2007
Relevance of Land Reforms & NRM in Kenya
High levels of land degradation:-Example of Mau Forest
About 20% of the forest cover lost in the last 3 decades
Conversion to agriculture, excision for political reasons, excessive extraction of timber and non-timber products
High levels of soil erosion & degradation in many parts of the country though the data is scanty;
ICRAF (2004) estimates that 3.2 million tonnes of soil have been washed into Lake Victoria since 1963;
In the Nyando river basin alone US $ 42.7 million worth of soil is lost every year.
Pollution and Waste Management
Pose major challenges for urban centers;
Per capita waste generation ranges between 0.29-0.66 kg/day;
Poor management of solid waste and sewer management must be addressed by the land policy.
Encroachment of the Maasai Mau Forest Source: EAWF, 2005
Encroachment of Mau cont’d Source: EAWF, 2005
Soil Erosion-local Source: Nyangena, 2005
Total forest cover change in Mau between 1973 and 2005 Source : ICRAF draft report, 2005
Causes of Natural Resource Degradation
Causes of Natural Resource degradation can be classified into:-
Direct/Proximate e.g. logging, infrastructure development
Policy and Institutional Factors-corruption, weak institutions
Economic e.g. poverty
Market failure e.g. encroachment of common properties such as forests
Political (e.g. election years and excision of Mau forest)
Predisposing/other –generic social and geographic factors
e.g. Topography, social events (civil strife, epidemics)
Land Reforms, NRM and Emerging Issues
Requires mitigation/adaptation measures e.g. investments in soil and water conservation measures which are only possible with secure rights;
Shifts in agricultural production e.g. biofuel production which could increase competition for land and water;
Emerging carbon markets from CDM, REDD etc., would also increase competition for land.
The ongoing trend of globalization with the associated new challenges and opportunities will require more investment in NRM by farmers to remain competitive .