Land Use Changes in Olgulului Group Ranch in Loitokitok District: The Implications on Pastoralism

 

Land use changes have  resulted  from interactions between society through influences of economic, social and political processes on the physical environment. These changes have occurred between different scales over time.  The coming of the Europeans and colonial government introduced new land use policies as from 1904 which resulted  to diminishing land resources for pastoralists.  The independent nation states further aggravated the problem by adapting the same colonial principles.

The study has examined land use and tenure systems within the Maasai as presented in different historical apochs: pre-colonial, and post independent eras.  The research has further examined the existing land uses and forces that have contributed to land use changes in the study area through various primary and secondary data collection methods.  Primary data collection methods included: House hold questionnaires, focused group discussions, participants observation and interview schedules.  A sample size of 75 households was interviewed.  Secondary data was gathered from literature review of journals, internet, and government reports and so on.

The study has established that land uses have changed from pastoralism before colonial period to agro pastoralism (crop farming and livestock keeping), crop farming and wildlife conservation are the major activities that utilize land resources in the study area.  The forces that have contributed to the land use changes include; poor political decisions, economic paradigms, institutional weaknesses, population growth and land tenure systems.

The study concludes that the changing land uses brought about by various forces have led to marginalization of the pastoralists and have negatively impacted on their livelihoods and production systems due to diminishing rangelands. The study recommends various strategies that will ensure sustainable land resource utilization.  These include among others land use planning, environmental management, formation of pastoralists’ organizations and conservation of dry season grazing areas.

 

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