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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sustaining the arid and semi-arid (ASAL) environment in Kenya through improved pastoralism and agriculture
Authors:Finkel, Moshe
Darkoh, M.B.K.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Research and Development (ISSN 0251-0405)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Kenya
East Africa
Subjects:environmental policy
arable farming
animal husbandry
Agriculture, Agronomy, Forestry
Arid zone
Semiarid zone
agricultural development
Abstract:This paper argues for environmental conservation through resource development and environmentally sustainable resource use in Kenya's arid and semiarid lands (ASAL). ASAL inhabitants have, over the centuries, evolved a complex pattern of survival in a region with extreme climatic conditions and erratic water supply. All their activities are linked to survival tactics rather than to long-term strategical planning. This pattern includes sophisticated risk-spreading priorities based on an intimate knowledge and understanding of the harsh environment and the human condition. Traditional pastoralism has always been less risky than traditional dry land farming. The economy of the ASAL has therefore evolved mainly towards livestock keeping with some farming conducted only in good rain years and in selected sites where water accumulates. The paper argues that a strategy for sustainable development in the ASAL should not overlook traditional survival strategies. It should aim at understanding these risk avoidance strategies and reducing, through the introduction of broader knowledge and improved technologies, the risks involved in ASAL farming systems without attempting drastic changes. The main body of the paper deals with the two aspects of pastoralism and agriculture, and outlines the contours of such a strategy. Bibliogr.