Peri-urbanization and its effect on the livelihoods of agricultural households at the urban
periphery has been a global concern owing to the many challenges it presents. Peri-urbanization
often leads to declining household land holdings which, potentially, diminishes the economic
significance of agriculture in urban peripheries. At the same time, new urban activities constitute
an opportunity for new livelihoods in urban-based employment. Urbanization may also be
synergistic to some forms of agriculture such as horticulture and dairying, due to increased urban
demand for fresh farm produce. Arising from the foregoing, this study investigated how peri
urban development affects the livelihoods of indigenous households, by using Lower Kiandani
area of Machakos town, as a case study.
The study used a proportionate stratified random sampling technique to select three samples of
the study population in three zones of the study area to carry out a locational analysis in order to:
identify the causes of land sub-division and land use change; identify and characterize livelihood
strategies; assess the effect of location on livelihoods and incomes and; estimate the relationship
between household income and household space and locational factors. Face-to-face interviews
using semi-structured questionnaires, and direct observations using observation forms, were used
for the collection of key household data. The data were analyzed using both descriptive and
inferential methods.
The study identified economic factors; commoditization of land; cultural factors and,
institutional factors as the main drivers of land sub-division and land use change. Because of
peri-urbanization, the study revealed, the economic significance of agriculture as a livelihood
strategy in the area had diminished, as evidenced by the locational differential trend of livelihood
diversification away from the activity, with distance towards the core, leading to multiple farm
and off-farm strategies. In spite of this diversification, the study revealed that household incomes
in Lower Kiandani are not influenced by household space and locational factors. On further
investigation, however, it was revealed that majority of the households, especially in the inner
areas, have not taken advantage of the opportunities of urban-based land use/activities. Based on
these key findings, the study recommends policy interventions to manage peri-urbanization in
Lower Kiandani, with a view to controlling land sub-division and land use change; promoting
multiple livelihoods and; intensifying and diversifying agriculture in the study area.