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Migori and Narok Counties

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Migori County is bound between latitudes 1° 4' 0" South of the equator, and longitudes 34° 28' 0" east of the prime meridian. It borders Homa Bay County to the North; Kisii County to the East; and to the West, it borders Narok County and the Republic of Tanzania to South. It touches Lake Victoria on its Western margins. The County is one of the six counties in Nyanza Province. The County experiences two rainy seasons, and with temperatures between 21-35 degrees Celsius. The county was delineated in 2012 by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya which made Migori to have seven administrative districts namely: Migori District, Kuria East District, and Kuria West district, Uriri District, Awendo District, Rongo District and Nyatike Districts respectively. Her capital is in Migori town, about 22 kilometers from Kisii town.

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Migori and Narok Counties

  1. 1. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1.0 Migori County Migori County is bound between latitudes 1° 4' 0" South of the equator, and longitudes 34° 28' 0" east of the prime meridian. It borders Homa Bay County to the North; Kisii County to the East; and to the West, it borders Narok County and the Republic of Tanzania to South. It touches Lake Victoria on its Western margins. The County is one of the six counties in Nyanza Province. The County experiences two rainy seasons, and with temperatures between 21-35 degrees Celsius. The county was delineated in 2012 by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of Kenya which made Migori to have seven administrative districts namely: Migori District, Kuria East District, and Kuria West district, Uriri District, Awendo District, Rongo District and Nyatike Districts respectively. Her capital is in Migori town, about 22 kilometers from Kisii town. The county has a total population of about 917,170 persons, according to the 2009 Kenya population census; occupying a total land area of 2,597 square kilometers. Population density in the county is about 355 persons per square kilometer. This has led Migori County to be among the most diverse and multi-ethnic regions in Kenya. Majority of the resident population here is made up of the Luo community, who constitutes close to half the total population. Almost half the population however is made up of people from varied ethnic and regional origins, from all over the world. These include, the Maragoli community inhabiting parts of Migori districts, the Abakuria community occupying the entire Kuria districts. Small pockets of the Indians, Nubians, a few Europeans, and the Somali (commonly referred to as the ‘Oria’ by the locals) reside in the major towns and urban centers in the region (Migori District Strategic Plan, 2005- 2010). These are mainly business persons and technical teams. Financial services include Banks and Micro Finance Institutions, Decentralized Funds e.g. CDF through Constituencies & LATF through Local Authorities Poverty levels are almost on average since about 43% of population live below the poverty line. The main Economic Activities and industries include Agriculture, fishing, manufacturing and mining. The main Agricultural products are Maize, Millet, Sugarcane, Sorghum, Groundnuts, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Beans, Sukuma-Wiki, and Sweet Bananas.
  2. 2. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 2 Its greatest mineral potential is Gold. Tobacco is also grown in the area. The County faces challenges with the main ones being Lack of knowledge on diseases causes, social discrimination, and the low prices offered for the tobacco grown. 1.1.1 Geology of the Region Much of the region’s geology is made up of the Precambrian rocks covering most parts of the county. The oldest rocks, the Nyanzian and Kavirondian, all of the Precambrian origin cover most parts of the county including the Migori Gold Belt (Ogola, 1993). Some Quaternary sediment also occurs in the region especially those covering parts of Karungu and Kamagambo regions. 1.2.0 Narok County Narok County is situated in Kenya along the Great Rift Valley. It is named after, Enkare Narok, the river flowing through Narok town. Narok County is a county in the heart of Maasai-land about two and a half hours south west of Nairobi; the capital City of Kenya, nestled in the south- west of Kenya. It covers an area of 17,944 sq km and has a population of 850,920. The temperature range is 8 to 28 degrees centigrade and an average rainfall range of 500 to 1,800 mm per annum. It constitutes six sub-counties namely: Kilgoris, Narok North, Narok South, Narok East, Narok West and Emurua Dikirr. The county borders Kisii, Migori and Bomet to the west, Kajiado County to the east and Nakuru County to the north. The Peoples Republic of Tanzania is to the south of the county. Narok town is the capital Head Quarters of the Narok County and stands as the major centre of commerce in the county. Narok south constituency is the most expansive with area coverage of 10,412.1 square kilometers, while Narok North occupies 4,662.7 square kilometers. Kilgoris to the west of the county occupies 2,858.3 square kilometers. The Maasai Mara National Park which is an important tourist destination is located in Narok County. It is home to the Great Wildebeest Migration which is one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World". As per the UN study/research for the Kenya Vision 2030, Narok County is marked as one of the fundamental counties for the achieving economic pillar. Key contributions are in the tourism sector through the Maasai Mara and the agricultural sector through agriculture and livestock farming.
  3. 3. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 3 1.2.1 Topography of Narok County The county has diverse topography ranging from the highlands of the Mau topping 3200 meters above sea level to the lowlands of the Mara at 900 meters and temperatures range from minimum of 8 to maximum of 28 degrees centigrade and two rainy seasons with average rainfall ranging from 500 to 1,800 mm per annum. The county is mother to all kinds of terrains ranging from sloping and flat landscaped highlands in the Mau and Trans-Mara to the flat lowlands in the southern part of the county. The flat landscapes are ideal for range livestock keeping and large scale agriculture while the high and steep lands are mainly forest lands supporting cash crop farming like tea and pyrethrum. This region lies on the most recent landscape since the old landscape has been faced out by the rapid erosion and other agents of denudation. The rocks here are the youngest, about 30 million years old. 2.0 Soil Types and Qualities in Migori and Narok Counties In Migori County soils are mainly derived from the ancient Precambrian rocks. There are however small areas made up of Tertiary volcanic soils in the North Western parts of the county and recent Quaternary sediments near the lake region. However, in over 80 percent of the area, the soils are derived from two main series of ancient rocks, the Kavirondian and Nyanzian volcanics largely in the north of Migori River and the intrusive rocks, mainly granites with some dolerites dykes, along the southern belts of Migori River. These rocks are among the oldest in the world and in the region too. All these rocks give rise to reasonably fertile soils capable of producing good crops which are certainly adequate for sustaining food sufficiency in the region. None of these soils are unusually acidic or strongly basic hence can favor extensive crop production (Ogola, 1993). A great majority of plants survive well in areas with mild acidic or basic conditions. These conditions are presented in the region hence its potential to support extensive agricultural production. On the lighter sandy soils, much of the soil elements have been lost through leaching which is common in the region due to the prevailing atmospheric conditions such as high rainfall, high temperatures and loose soil characteristics. The nutrient status of most of the area is essentially good, but has been reduced by shifting cultivation over the past 30 years (UNDP, 2002).
  4. 4. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 4 A stunning feature of the area is a high proportion of shallow or badly drained soil in some parts of the county especially in Kuria and Nyatike districts. This is due to the presence of heavy black clays mainly in river valleys or gravel or clay pans close to the surface which discourages agricultural production and other economic activities in the regions The soils are generally unsuited to arable agriculture but provide valuable grazing lands for the semi- nomadic pastoralists found in some of these regions, mainly in Kuria districts since nitrogen and phosphate ions are generally low in all the soils. Expansive pasture lands are supported by light soils characterizing the region hence capable of supporting large herds of cattle. This has made cattle rearing the most preferred economic activity in the regions above as opposed to crop cultivation which forms the back bone of the county’s economy. However, necessary reinforcement steps have been proposed by the government, presently under the mandates of the county government in the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, to help sustain livestock production in the region (Migori District Development Plan, 2005- 2010) for effective and productive utilization of the dry lands in the county. The soils formed on granite in the south and east are also frequently deficient in calcium. Near Isebania they are deficient in magnesium. Potash is generally adequate throughout the area. The alluvial fans and adjacent volcanic soils around the Gucha Delta are generally adequate in all nutrients. From the available analyses, it should be possible to overcome the most serious nutrient deficiencies by the use of standard fertilizers supplemented by cattle manure. In addition, soybeans production in the region can be used as a long term plan expected to improve the fixation of certain nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphates which have been lost through leaching. It is recommended that a detailed soil survey of the best arable land be carried out by the agricultural staff during the first five year plan in order to be able to come up with adequate information on soil characteristics for boosting economic production and facilitating planning activities in the region. Other crops such as ground nuts, cow peas and potatoes have shown positive results in increasing soil fertility through the fixation of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphates and iron to help enrich the soils for intense agricultural production. The soils across Narok County are diverse ranging from the loamy soils found on the upper highlands of the county to the sandy soils in the drier areas at the low lands of the county. In some areas there has been massive erosion leading to little agricultural productivity. Such
  5. 5. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 5 regions are left to be occupied by the nomadic pastoralists who have at times quarreled with the farmers in the areas with rich soils because of grazing lands and search for water and pasture. 3.0 NATURAL RESOURCES IN MIGORI AND NAROK COUNTIES In Migori County much of the county land is graded as arable land with a little portion, mainly parts of Kuria and Nyatike Districts graded as semi arid. The major economic activities carried out by the people living here include crop cultivation, cattle rearing, gold mining, fishing and commerce. All these activities are dependent on the utilization and exploitation of the available natural resources in the county. Among the major natural resources present in this county include: gold in Nyatike district, Macalder region, and fish resources found in Lake Victoria, Sand present in most rivers in the region such as River Migori (commonly referred to as River Kuja), River Riana and River Awach among other small streams found in the region. The other resources found within the county include; forest resources, stones and rocks mined on several regions in the county. 3.1 Water Resources The major surface water resources in the area are the Gucha River and Lake Victoria. The lake is the main water source for the drier western parts of the county. The Gucha river catchment is approximately 6600 square kilometers of which about 2000 square kilometers are within the area and is served by three tributaries, the Migori, the Ongoche and the Osani. The catchments of these tributaries cover respectively 700 square kilometers, 600 square kilometers and 400 kilometers within the area. The Ongoche which flows through the south of Macalder Division is dry for some period of the year. The catchment of the main stream of the Gucha (300 kilometers) only covers the western plains near the lake (Ogola, 1993). During high flow conditions the surface water has a neutral pH and low total hardness. High values for color and turbidity indicate high silt content and widespread soil erosion within the river catchments. High levels of oxygen absorbed indicate organic matter which renders the untreated water unfit for domestic use. Bacterial quality is low showing extensive human waste and sewage pollution in dams and rivers (FAO, 2003). Uriri dam for example. The Gucha and Migori rivers were severely polluted with human waste and sewerage.
  6. 6. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 6 However, work on a multi-million water project that will serve over 200,000 Migori town residents is set to be finished by August this year after a court injunction was lifted. The Sh986m water and sanitation project which has a capacity to produce 20 million liters of water daily had initially been stopped after Uriri residents went to court to stop the project saying the community around river Osani which feeds the project didn’t benefit. However, the companies agreed on court to avail benefits to these people through the project. The project which is funded by African Development Bank (AfDB) through Lake Victoria South Water Services Board (LVSWSB) and a Chinese company SCC International Contractors will also see construction of Sh41 million modern water closet toilets within town. On the other hand, Narok County is served by the Mara River which has its catchment area from the Mau region. This river flows through Trans Mara to Tanzania in the South west. Another important river in this county is the Enkare Narok, which flows across the county. It is from this river that the county derives its name, Narok. 3.1.1 HEP Power Generation and Irrigation Agriculture Water is the largest source of energy used in the country as compared to other sources of energy such as wind, solar and bio- based sources. Hydro energy is generated mainly on rivers in the country. Other hydro energy sources such as tidal and wave energy has been proposed as alternative sources but the high costs of their exploitation are inhibiting their harvesting. Besides, the narrow fetch of the available water bodies in the country such as lakes and seas, where tidal and wave energy can be generated, further presents another obstacle in the generation of hydropower from them. Migori County borders one of the largest lakes in the country, Lake Victoria. And has a myriad of other large and permanent rivers. Most of these rivers however have relatively smaller volumes to support substantial and commercial hydro energy generation. As a result, only one river, River Kuja- also the largest river in the region, has been harnessed to produce hydroelectric power (HEP). The river has its source somewhere in Kisii highlands and flows across the county into Lake Victoria. HEP generation takes place at the Gogo Falls, one of the major HEP generation sites in the country, situated about 100 kilometers from Migori town.
  7. 7. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 7 Power generated from this point joins the national grid and is used to supplement the country’s power supply. A large population is directly or indirectly dependent on the power generated from R. Kuja Multipurpose Dam. According to TSBF-CIAT, (2003), The Kuja-Migori River has a total catchment area of about 6,900 square kilometers. The population of Karungu Division alone where the project is located is 279,011 people, based on the 2009 Kenya population survey (Muyanga & Jayne, 2006). The Division is 138.8 square kilometers and is well populated with an average density of 201 persons per square kilometer. This explains the suitability of the project to the region in terms of energy provision and economic development. A lot of power is required to support the numerous economic activities taking place in this region given the large population it supports. Fishing as the prominent economic activity taking place in the region requires a lot of power especially for the purposes of preservation and processing. Even though the main purpose of building the dam in the area was to generate power, its water is as well used for irrigating the agricultural lands on the hinterlands. This has resulted into acute agricultural expansion and diversification further increasing food security in the region. The presence of the dam has enabled the growing of crops such as soybeans, sugar cane, pumpkins, vegetables and even small scale fish farming in some areas. Besides, transportation services are another rare opportunity presented by the erection of the dam in the region. Irrigation farming is a growing agricultural activity in the area with hundreds of acres of land under irrigation. This has enabled the production of several crops such as the ones mentioned above. The provision of power from the river has led to rapid expansion of the nearby towns and centers such as Migori, Sori, Rongo and Awendo towns. According to FAO, (2003), power availability is associated with a lot of development prospects and the same is expected to occur in Migori County following her ability to support the generation of power within her boundaries. HEP in the region is solely generated by the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). Water from the dam is also expected to help in expanding agricultural production in the region. Horticultural crops such as vegetables and water melons are currently achieving prominence in the areas bordering the dam and the major rivers in the region due to the availability of water for irrigation. As a result, cases of food insecurity which constantly rocked most parts of the county are expected to considerably reduce
  8. 8. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 8 to lower levels. The dam will as well help in diversifying food production in the area. This is slowly but steadily changing over time with the introduction of various other crops such as potatoes, rice, ground nuts, and beans among others whose production is facilitated by the presence of the dam. The agricultural sector is expected to develop even further due to the provision of water for irrigation and power for processing and storage to the locals. New technologies are expected to increase the locals’ ability to harness much more potential is from the dam’s benefits. A changing lifestyle and the diversification of the resident population are expected to be on the lead in spurring the development agenda in the region. 3.1.2 Energy Potential The energy sector has many avenues for investment especially works for extension and expansion of infrastructure for electrical energy. Green energy is an emerging area of focus and the production of biogas for domestic lighting and cooking has potential. Solar energy can be harnessed in the low lying areas of the county around the Lake Victoria which provide swathes of flat land for installation of solar panels. Investment in appropriate technologies for making energy saving charcoal stoves is very important. Agro forestry based businesses can thrive in the county as there is rising need for timber and other wood products and biomass in this sector. Currently, Migori County is seeking donors to upgrade a power generation plant that the government took over from colonists operating a gold mining firm in the region. Launched more than five decades ago, The Gogo power plant on River Kuja has the potential to produce 60 megawatts. In a conference held during the unveiling of a soya milk processing plant in Kisumu County in Mid-May, Migori deputy governor urged the Japanese government to consider stepping up the capacity of the hydro-electric power plant, which is economically feasible to boost economic growth in the county and also an avenue for investment. The county government of Migori County called on KenGen to hand the plant back to the community to enhance electricity generation. The plant has the capacity of producing up to sixty megawatts but the county only requires Thirty megawatts, which will boost the current production for household use and other economic activities. The Gogo power station was commissioned in 1957 by colonial investors to
  9. 9. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 9 supply electricity to Macalder gold mine in South Nyanza with an original capacity of two million watts. 3.2 Mineral Resources: Gold, Copper and Zinc Minerals Migori County has proven to have deposits of precious minerals such as gold and copper among others. There are opportunities for investors in the mining industry in the areas of prospecting and dealership. There is also a potential for investment in service businesses such as to support the thriving sector. Gold has a long history of occurrence in various regions within Migori County. The most known area with gold mining in the in the county is Macalder which has had a long history of gold bearing rocks. The region has been known over a long time as the county’s gold belt and has attracted the attention of many people across the republic. Originally gold mines were spread all over Nyatike district constituting the largest gold mines in the region. Overexploitation of these resources has however reduced the amount of gold deposits restricting gold mining to Macalder area. Recent geological surveys in the county have however indicated additional gold resources in various other regions in the county gold has been mined in North Kamagambo location and traces of zinc and copper have as well been extracted from the old, abandoned gold mines in the region. Mining of Zinc and copper have also been taking place in Nyatike and Kuria districts further showing the county’s riches in terms of natural resources endowment. Despite these, it has been argued by experts that some of the mineral deposits in the region occur in small quantities that are not economically viable for large scale exploitation. Much of these resources have remained docile and unexploited to date despite the major discoveries made recently revealing their occurrence. Plans are however underway to exploit the deposits especially in gold Kamagambo where several foreign companies have expressed dedicated wishes to exploit the valuable resources in the area. It is believed that when these are finally exploited, the income generated from the resources will be of significant contribution .to the economy of the county. The body responsible for the surveying and exploitation of these resources is the Ministry of Minerals and Natural Resources of the republic of Kenya. In Narok County, Gold mineral resources in are found in Lolgorian and Kilimapesa. Gold-plat, one of the world’s biggest gold companies, which is also listed at the London Stock Exchange was awarded the lease to exploit the large gold deposits in the Lolgorian area of the County in November last year. The firm also
  10. 10. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 10 discovered richer gold reserves at it Kilimapesa mines in Trans Mara to support commercial exploitation of the precious metal expected to be a key source of wealth for Narok County. The firm has also found gold deposits in an abandoned site, Red Ray, around Kilimapesa mines, which are expected to raise the mineral output to over 285 kg per year, worth about shillings 1.5 billion. 3.2.2 Sand Harvesting Sand is another important resource which has been exploited in the region for a long period of time. Abundant sand deposits are available along the shores of Lake Victoria and major rivers in the region. This has been of great benefit to the people living around the lake region for instance in Nyatike districts of the county. Sand is majorly used in the constriction industry supporting the lives of thousands of people who directly and indirectly depend on the exploitation of the resource for their livelihood. Much income is generated from the mining sites and used in various developmental sectors. Besides this, Ogola, (1993) notes that sand mining also takes place in many rivers found in the region. The major rivers which bear large quantities of sand in the county include River Kuja, Riana and Awach. Other small streams flowing across the county have also generated a lot of sand which is mined in the areas they bypass. The large sand deposits is mainly due to the presence of weak bed rocks which are easily weathered by external land sculpturing processes such as moving wind, water and animals. The loose sediments are then easily swept by the moving water and wind into the water bodies and onto sloppy grounds of the region making mining more intensive along the flat and sloppy areas in the region. Sand is a great economic resource which can support the lives of many people. Economical exploitation is therefore of great need for the realization of capital growth for the county. Narok County is also endowed with sand and its harvesting is mainly along the dry river valleys and the seasonal streams. Unlike in Migori County, in Narok County there are several quarries where rocks are quarried for immediate use in building and construction within and around the town by the locals. As a matter of fact, the site where the dumping site is proposed to be located is within the quarries as a way of filling up the hollows and voids left after quarrying is done.
  11. 11. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 11 3.3 Fish Resources Fishing has a long standing tradition among the people living in Migori County making it one of the oldest and major income generating activities for most people living here. Lake Victoria provides the largest fishing ground in the region. Those living around the lake and its hinterlands practice fishing as their main source of income. Fishing activities are most common among the people inhabiting Nyatike district which border Lake Victoria. Other fishing grounds in the region include rivers, streams and ponds found in various parts of the county. Rivers such as Kuja, Riana and Awach provides the largest river- based fishing grounds in the region after Lake Victoria. Much of the fish resources generated from these sites are consumed locally, since fish forms the largest dietary component among the residents of the county. It is the most preferred type of food due to; its cheap price, ease of access and dietary functions. Fish farming is however not very common among the residents of Migori County despite its fame among the locals’ diet. This according to Geda, Jong, Mwabu, & Mwangi, (2001) is attributed to the abundance of the resource in major water bodies found in the county which has made the locals reluctant to establish private fish farms. Crop farming and animal rearing therefore take the largest land use activity in the region. Gautam & Anderson, (2009) observes that the value of fish in the region has evoked the establishment of few small scale fish farms in the region to supplement the highly exhausted Lake Victoria and river fish resources. Even though not very common, the practice is currently picking up in most parts of the region as most people realize the economic benefits of the same. Many private fish farms have been established in Rongo and Nyatike districts, an indication that private fish farming is soon becoming an income generating indulgence among the residents in the area. 3.4 Tourism and Wildlife Resources There is hardly any large wildlife in Migori County but the region is situated close to the Maasai Mara and other tourist attractions sites in the country. Its main wildlife attractions are interesting birds centered in small forest patches near Kihancha, and in the lake shore environment. The main scenic attraction is the lake shore area of Mohuru with its striking granite formations and intriguing offshore islands which support very large colonies of cormorants, sacred ibis and other birds (Chambers, 2007). There are several excellent lake shore lodge sites at or near Mohuru. A Lake Victoria tourist circuit including visits to Kisumu, Homa
  12. 12. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 12 Bay, Olambwe Valley, Mfangano and Rusinga Islands, Mohuru Bay and then on to the Maasai Mara via Kihancha appears an attractive proposition to most tourists visiting the county. The attractiveness of the lake as a tourist area has been greatly increased by bathing facilities free from Bilharzias’ risk and a sport fishing possibility. It is understood that Nile Perch are quite widespread in the Lake such that the possibility of sport fishing on the lake cannot be not be overlooked as a great tourists attraction in the region. Entertainment is emerging as a major income earner for artistes and investors. Migori has produced some of Kenya’s finest musicians and is home to a number of favored musicians and artistes. However, they cannot satisfy the varied needs of residents and visitors alike. The entertainment and hospitality industry as well as tourism which feed it still require investments. Whereas the county does not boast of animal sanctuaries Migori provides unique opportunities for investment in tourism and related industries. Attractions include the famed Thim Lich Ohinga Ruins which is a protected and nationally gazetted heritage site. This is a unique architectural stone structure built over 500 years ago. Thim Lich’s strategic location forms a perfect stop over for those on their way to or from Ruma and Maasai Mara National Game Parks, Gogo Falls and also Macalder Mines. The beaches of Lake Victoria and the famous Migingo archipelago are in Migori County, the nearby Ruma and Maasai Mara National Park provides opportunities for investments to take advantage of its visitors. Conference tourism has lots of opportunities for investment; the county needs hotels and conferencing facilities which can be used by clientele from within the county and elsewhere. In Narok County this is the largest contributor to the county’s economy as it hosts it hosts a number of luxurious hotels, lodges, and clubs and camp sites. The county is home to famous Maasai Mara that defines the Tanzania Kenya boarder to the south west. The Reserve has different wildlife species that includes: elephants, lions, cheaters, Buffaloes, antelopes, hyenas, rhinos, leopards, wildebeest and all kind of birds among others. The reserve has historically been a tourist attraction where both locals and international tourist visit for recreation and sports. Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Mara Triangle have neighboring group ranches and conservancies. The reserves host several Hotels, tented camps, airstrips and balloon safaris. The tourism sector has highly contributed to the economic standards of the county through
  13. 13. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 13 employment in the hotel industry, game ranging, revenue collection, beadwork, curio shops and cultural practices in the Manyattas among others. Recreational activities found include such as game drives, bird watching, site seeing, balloon rides among others. 3.5 Forest Resources in Narok County The county is home to the once pristine Mau forest and has a higher forest cover percentage compared to the national figure of less than 10%. The Maasai Mau forest is managed in trust by the local authority and once covered an area 43% of the Mau Complex area of 400,000 acres. Loita forest is another major forest in the county and is located at Loita division of Narok south district and spurns an area of about 330 Sq. km. The forest supports a vast array of flora and fauna including some threatened birds species such as the Grey-crested Helmet Shrike. The forest constitutes the main water-catchment point in the region. A significant portion of forests in the County is found within private lands. Other notable forests are Enoosupukia in Narok North and Laila forest in Kilgoris. 4.0 NAROK AND MIGORI COUNTIES’ POTENTIAL AND GOVERNANCE The objective of devolution as enshrined in the new constitution is to empower citizens to effectively participate in governance and resources management and to build and enhance capacities to manage and utilize the resources for better service delivery for the residents. For the potential objective to be achieved in the county, a paradigm shift must obtain to overcome the culture of corruption and promote effective and efficient citizens participation in charting their destiny. Equally important is the need to promote and enhance fairness and equity in service provision. This is only achievable if the leadership is a reflection of the county’s aspirations and encompasses inclusive leadership. Devolution anchors against concentration of power in a centre and works to accommodate diverse interests in an environment of public effective and efficient participation. The defining elements of the new dispensation are cooperative government and citizen involvement in administrative and legislative processes. The opportunity provided by devolution and self governance is innumerable. The opportunity avails the residents of the county with a chance to implement consultative and participatory frameworks for generation of people centered solutions. The county can further devolve the structures of governance to lower
  14. 14. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 14 levels to enhance better representation and effective participation at all levels. The concept of devolution is to reverse the centralized and non-participatory governance paradigm by institutionalizing and embracing a governance and leadership system based on integrity. 4.1 Natural Resources and the devolved Government Narok County is considered a natural resource-rich county given it is the home to the Great Mara comprising of the current Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Mara Conservancy and several blocks of the largest single block of forest in East Africa, the formerly pristine Mau Forest Complex. The county has the following key natural resources; Forests and range lands, Pasture and Water, Livestock, and Wildlife, Wind, solar energy and minerals. The county is well endowed with natural resources which if well managed could provide sustainable livelihoods for the residents. However a fast rising population and prevalent poverty in the county continue to impact negatively on the dwindling resources and sustainable management of the resources. The availability of minerals in the county provides a new front in the potential of natural resources. The artisanal mining of gemstones and sand stones pre-dominates the mining industry though the full extent of the county’s wealth in minerals has not been established and a key strategic initiative should focus on undertaking surveys to confirm commercial viability of existing mineral resources including the reported gold deposits in Lolgorian in Trans Mara. The county enjoys long periods of sunshine and windy conditions that are suitable for solar and wind energy generation and the availability of appropriate technology to harvest these resources is the strategic initiative needed to realize the resource’s potential. 4.2 Tourism and Wildlife Tourism is a natural resource that is and has been the backbone of the economy of the county and the Mara is considered Kenya’s flagship tourist destination and has been noted as ‘a must see’. This has always been the goose that lays the golden egg for the county councils and contributes as much as 80% of the total gross revenues of the respective county councils. The Maasai Mara National Reserve covers 1,363 square miles and is one of the top revenue-generating game parks in Kenya. The realization of the full potential of tourism as a main revenue stream for the county is the combination of appropriate information technology and the good policies inclusive of prudent
  15. 15. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 15 mechanisms for sharing of revenues. The potential of tourism as a revenue stream in the county is often quoted in the range of Kenya shillings 2.5 to Kenya shillings 5 Billion annually. This potential has never been even remotely achieved and conservative figures available show the county council of Narok has been collecting around 800 million to 950 million annually since 2003 to date. It is correctly believed that the council is currently collecting and recording 25% of the potential. The figures for Mara conservancy were not immediately available but a search on the net shows figures of Kenya shillings 500 million per year. Much importance is to the Mara ecosystem which is 4,500 square. Kilometers owned and managed by pastoral Maasai communities organized as Group ranches, Associations/Trusts and Conservancies. This land is not only a vital dispersal area for all the wildlife species for which the Maasai Mara is famous, but the local Maasai culture is an attraction in and of itself. In recent years, this area is under increasing pressure to sub-divide land into private/individual and small parcels of land. In the past, these parcels were group ranches owned communally by the local Maasai before the drive for privatization and individual ownership of land. Agricultural encroachment in the parts of the outer Mara area where cultivation of maize and large scale wheat farming is practiced has resulted in the loss of wildlife habitat and huge decreases in wildlife population and exacerbating human wildlife conflict. If this trend continues, the wildlife dispersal areas to the north of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, a critical component of the Mara ecosystem will shrink and with it, the buffer zone between wilderness and, pastoral and cultivated land. 4.3 Agriculture The county is geographically on three agricultural zones namely the high potential zone, medium potential and low potential agro-ecological zones. The zones each provide a unique opportunity for agriculture with derivative economic benefits to the county. The high potential zones with rainfalls of between 1000-1300 mm per year can support tea, maize, beans, potatoes, pyrethrum, wheat, barley and peas. The success of the crops is very much dependent on the rainfall patterns in a given year. The conservation of forests is a direct factor in the growing of the crops as it has been noted that the reliability of rainfall is linked to the extent of forest degradation and depletion. The medium potential zone receives less rainfall in the range of 800-1000 mm
  16. 16. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 16 annually and supports crops requiring less rainfall like different varieties of maize, beans, peas and even wheat. The zone is generally the belt after the forested areas and the inhabitants have been the main cause of forest depletion due to their proximity to the forest, though the depletion is by and large done by immigrant communities. The lower potential zone is the lowlands receiving much lower levels of rainfall of not more than 800 mm per year. The agriculture practiced is large scale agriculture reliant on short rains supporting crops that require minimum rainfall like wheat varieties that mature faster and beans. The lowlands provide the greatest potential for irrigation agriculture. The introduction of irrigation in the production of French beans and onions for export has transformed the economic status of the few farmers who have the financial ability to engage in the business immensely. The current production of French beans and other export vegetables along the main rivers by small scale farmers with movable water pumps is on the range of 15000 tons to 25000 tons per day. The requisite capital investment in irrigation farming can be a hindrance to the implementation of the same on large scale proportions though the same cannot be true with small scale measures for targeted crops and incentives driven initiatives. It is however important to note that irrigation on riparian zones must conform to protection of catchment areas and waterways. Narok County is considered the largest producer of wheat and barley in the country and this provides unparalleled advantages in revenue generation and addition of value to the primary products. The need to organize cooperative societies to take advantage of the prospect by pooling resources to establish industries and factories for value addition is important key. 4.4 Mining Despite many foreign companies expressing interest in exploiting gold and copper in the county, much has not been done in connection with the process due to slow bureaucratic procedures to be followed between the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources & Disaster Management and the concerned parties. Formally, gold deposits have been exploited in North Kamagambo region. Even though the exploitation only took a limited duration before the gold deposits were exhausted, recent discoveries still present significant illumination of the county as a golden destination in the country.
  17. 17. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 17 Sand is commonly found in the two counties where it is harvested from the dry river banks, along the roads, and on the seasonal streams that flow across the counties during the wet seasons. The loose sediments of weathered rocks are then easily swept by the moving water and wind into the water bodies and onto sloppy grounds of the region making mining more intensive along the flat and sloppy areas in the region. Sand, gold and other minerals in the two counties are great economic resources which can support the lives of many people. Economical exploitation is therefore of great need for the realization of capital growth for the county. 5.0 CONCLUSION Environmental degradation in Migori and Narok County is of great concern; most of the forests and vegetation cover are seriously under threat. The Maasai Mau trust land forest for instance, that constituted 43% of the Mau forest has over the last decades continually suffered massive encroachment. The major causes of environmental degradation in the region includes; large scale farming; charcoal burning, commercial timber harvest, settlement. Crop farming is slowly becoming the predominant livelihood options in many households in Narok County even those in lowland areas that does not support crop farming. The resultant effect is the depletion of forests and shrubs to prepare land for crop farming. The repeated actions due to the need to satisfy economic needs results in the degradation of the land to a level that it cannot support crop farming and this creates a vicious cycle that will lead to more degradation and loss of forest cover. Commercial charcoal burning is the latest menace to environmental degradation. In additional to charcoal burning as result of the clearing of land for farming purpose, the diminishing livelihood options leading to high poverty rate cause people to land to charcoal burning. Climate change is a global phenomenon that poses potential irreversible threat to human societies. The consequences due to change climate are already manifested through frequent prolonged droughts and unpredictable and sometimes heavy rainfall. Narok County is not spared; in the last few years there has been frequent drought affecting both the livestock and crop
  18. 18. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 18 farmers. Another manifestation of the climate change experienced in Narok County is the heavy rainfall. Despite being the leading producer of wheat and meat in the country, Narok County lacks a reliable and markets accessibility for its products. The farmers are forced to seek for markets outside the county which expose them to manipulation and control of market prices. This is perpetuated by the lack of industries and poor roads network in region. In the two counties the role of the new devolved government at the county level and beyond as recommended provides not only a new dispensation but also a chance to start on a clean slate. The new structures though not yet well understood by the citizens, will need to be entrenched at the grassroots for effective participation of the same citizens in its implementation. The effectiveness of citizen participation depends on the ability of the citizens to understand their roles and contribution to the processes being set out. It is therefore imperative that the citizens are involved from the onset of the process in civic education that reaches the previously unreached populace. It is strategic that the participation of citizens is effective for the needs to be identified by the people at the beginning of the processes of service delivery. 6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS 6.1 DisasterPreparedness Recognizing that the county is a natural resource based economy, it is imperative that there be a disaster preparedness framework for adequate and timely interventions. The reported floods in the proposed county headquarters of Narok town are a stark almost annual reminder of the need for this particular concern among others like the devastating drought that almost cripples the livestock and pastoralist livelihoods. The loss due to the disasters are in hundreds of millions and with the occurrences now more frequent, the occasioned losses are impacting negatively on the economy. It is on this regard that it is envisaged that the security architecture in this county should provide for a policy organ chaired by the Governor and an operational security organ to take operational decisions and actions.
  19. 19. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 19 6.2 Adapting to Climate Change The interventions currently being negotiated at the national and international levels on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation and capacity building among other specific instruments is of grave concern to the county as the county is natural resource based and therefore climate change and its’ attendant challenges and opportunities will be key determinants in the realization of the potential of the county in resource consolidation and provision of services to the residents of the county. It is therefore recommended that there is established a Climate Change kitty in the county for local interventions as well as aligning the county policies on conservation to the instruments on Climate Change including but not limited to Reduction of Emissions from forest degradation and deforestation commonly known by the acronym REDD+. The component on Capacity Building on climate change is proactively engaged to build capacity not only at policy level but on negotiations for the greatest benefits accruals. 6.3 Resource Consolidation The devolution process will require transparent efforts to assign functions, competencies and responsibilities to multiple tiers of national and devolved government and non-state actors and private sector entities in a manner that delivers the requisite public services. The centrality of resources at the county government provides an impetus for consolidation of the resources for synchronized planning and the development of master plans. The need to enhance the Maasai brand as a unique value and according it the value that it portends is a must as a resource for benefits to accrue. The exploitation of the Growth poles identified by the Vision 2030 framework should be followed through to make growth a reality. The engagements in public-private partnerships are a key determinant for the realization of the most potential that will accrue benefits to all.
  20. 20. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 20 7.0 MAPS OF NAROK AND MIGORI COUNTIES Fig 1.0 Map of Migori County Fig 1.1 Map of Narok County
  21. 21. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 21 9.0 REFERENCES Chambers, R. (2007). Who’s Reality Counts? Putting the First Last; London: Intermediate Technology Publications. FAO, (2003) Water Resources Development and Management Service CLIMWAT: A climatic database for CROPWAT. FAO Land and Water Development Division Retrieved Sept 30th, 2015, from http://www.fao.org/ag/AGL/AGLW/climwat.stm Gautam, M. & Anderson J. (2009) Reconsidering the evidence on returns to T&V extension in Kenya (Vol. 1098) Washington DC: World Bank Geda, A., Jong, D., Mwabu, G., & Mwangi, S. (2001). Determinants of poverty in Kenya: a household level analysis.The Hague, Netherlands: ORPAS - Institute of Social Studies Interim Report of the Task Force on Devolved Government Migori District Strategic Plan (2005- 2010) Implementation of the National Population Policy for Sustainable Development Narok County Dialogue Forums Report 2015 Narok District Vision and Mission 2005-2015-ALRMP-PricewaterhouseCoopers Narok North District Development Plan 2008-2012 National Population Census 2009 Narok South District Development Plan 2008-2012 Ogola, J. (1988) Mineralization in the Migori Greenstone Belt, Macalder, Kenya. Geological Journal,African Geological Reviews 25 – 44. Ogola, J. (1987) Mineralization in the Migori Greenstone Belt; Macalder, Western Kenya: Journal of Geology 22 (Thematic issue), 25– 44 Ogola, J. (1993) Geology and mineral resources of Nyanza province, Western Kenya: Geological Society of Africa (GSA) (Special Issue),407– 432. Ogola, J. (1995). Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Development,A Case Study of Artisan Gold Mining and Processing in the Migori District, Kenya: Environmentally Sound Management and Exploration ofMineral Resources. Entebbe, Uganda. Sombroek, W. Braun, H., & Van der Pouw, B. (2012) the exploratory soil map and agro-climate zone map of Kenya. Exploratory Soil Survey, 231- 245 Transmara District Development Plan 2008-2012 UNDP (2002) Human Development Indicators:Retrieved on 13/09/2015 from http://www.undp.org SoftKenya.com accessed on 10/09/2015 http://www.narok.go.ke/about-narok Retrieved on 22/09/2015
  22. 22. Natural Resources Utilization, Potential and Governance in Narok And Migori Counties E35/3309/2015 University of Nairobi,Collegeof Education andExternal Studies 22 http://www.kenyadecides.co.ke/county/migori/#sthash.89yPtOrz.dpuf Retrieved on 21/09/2015

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