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Title:Alternative policies and models for arid and semi-arid lands in Kenya
Author:Keya, G.A.
Book title:When the grass is gone: development intervention in African arid lands
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:agricultural policy
animal husbandry
Abstract:This paper discusses Kenya government policies for the development of arid and semiarid lands with an emphasis on pastoral systems. The thesis is that policies and models prescribed by experts have been inappropriate or lacking. They have not had the desired success, and are in many ways responsible for the environmental crisis in the arid lands. The evolution of pastoral systems development models in Kenya dates back to almost a quarter of a century ago, during the colonial period, and appears to have been based on Western ranch-style systems. Basically, four models have been proposed and implemented, with varying degrees of success. The models are grazing schemes (implemented in the 1945-1955 development plan), group ranching (introduced after the failure of the grazing schemes), commercial ranching (implemented at the turn of this century), and grazing blocks (conceived in the early 1970s). The author argues that the future of arid and semiarid lands in Kenya lies in pastoralism backed by proper environmental management, at least in the short and medium terms. The focus should be on how to improve pastoral production systems in a way that will ensure sustainable production and human survival in the dry lands. The following elements must be part of an integrated development strategy: indigenous knowledge systems, community mobilization, appropriate projects/technology, creation of alternative income sources for pastoralists, drought management strategies, landscape planning, and research. Bibliogr.