Land Use Change Scenarios for Subdivided Ranches in Laikipia District, Kenya

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Kenya Agriculture Research Institute
Since Kenya's Independence in 1963, former large-scale ranches of white settlers in Laikipia District have been bought up and subdivided into smaller units. In schemes organised through the government under the million acres scheme, land-carrying capacities were considered, but not so in schemes organised through private land-buying companies. As these schemes form the majority of subdivisions in Laikipia District, they impose a major development concern: a large number of people originating from high-potential areas moved into the district to start farming, without knowing the ecological constraints on rainfed agriculture, producing a threat to scarce and fragile natural resources like water, soil or vegetation. Land subdivision brought about land use changes with new farming systems evolving. Because little information is available for the new settlers on how to run crop and livestock prod uction on their holdings, the new farming systems types are mainly developed through trial and error. These new farming enterprises run a high risk of crop failure, leading to impoverishment of the settlers who moved to the area lacking a strong economic base.