Sub-theme 6. The drama of the grabbed commons
Green-grabbing and dispossession of pastoralists’ livelihoods: does commodification of natural assets hold the answer to sustainable food security and nutrition?
African pastoralism has been viewed as archaic, resistant to change, and anti-modern, as well as stagnant, unproductive, and an ecologically damaging livelihood. Livestock provides more food security than growing crops in many ASALs because farming appears to be a poorer adaptation than nomadic pastoralism in arid environments. Social scientists, politicians, and practitioners concerned with pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa have focused on the demise of the pastoral commons since the 1980s. Common pool resource management has been of great significance for most pastoralist communities and has changed livelihoods and social organizations alike. The effective management of commons is important for pastoralism and agro-pastoralism. The ratification of the Kenya 2010 Constitution gave legal provisions to protect communal land tenure, and recognized pastoralists as a “marginalized group”. The “Community Land” legislation is set to facilitate communal land holdings, as well as compensation for compulsory acquisition of any community land. From the early 1990s to 2020, there has been pressure on communal land from drought, emerging conservation models, and degradation caused by population growth, mega-infrastructural development projects, military camps, new wildlife corridors, and rapid urbanization. These green-grabbing projects have sparked a violent conflict between the managers and pastoralists, who argue that such projects do not benefit the inhabitants who in the past have traditionally managed the resources communally and are now dispossessed of their pastures leading to unstable livelihoods and near perpetual food insecurity. There is an emerging discourse of “new common” where resources need to be priced, and those who use more should pay more. That is, wherever there is a market, natural resources should be commoditized to the benefit of rural resource owners. Is a market approach the solution to ecological, economic, and social problems causing severe food insecurity?
1. Shocks, socio-economic status, and food security across Kenya: policy implications for achieving the Zero Hunger goal
1CETRAD, Kenya, 2Glasgow University, Scotland, 3Western Sydney University, Australia, 4University of Bern, Switzerland
This study assessed the association between shocks, socio-economic factors, and household food security across Kenya, and provided policy implications for achieving the Zero Hunger goal at national and local levels in Kenya. We analysed the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2015–16 data for 24 000 households by employing regression models. Our multiple findings show that: (a) half of the surveyed population across Kenya were food insecure; (b) large disparities in
food security status exist across the country; (c) demographics (e.g. gender )) and
other socio-economic aspects (e.g. education), positively influence food security; and (d) social and economic shocks negatively influence food security. In summary, the food security status in Kenya is not satisfactory. Our findings suggest that, in general, achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) Zero Hunger goal by 2030 will likely remain challenging. The findings could be useful in the formulation and implementation of national and regional policies for achieving the Zero Hunger goal by 2030 in Kenya.
2. Linking Household Food Security and Value Chains of Smallholders and Pastoralists in North West Mt. Kenya
Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL Development, Kenya
Smallholder farmers and pastoralists produce the largest proportion of food consumed in
sub-Saharan Africa. However, they remain among the food insecure populations. This paper explores the food (in)security among smallholder farmers and pastoralists using a sample of 175 households in three agro-food value chains of wheat, dairy, and beef in the north-west Mt. Kenya region. The study seeks to answer if a farmer’s participation in a particular agro-food value chain determines his/her food security situation. We use the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) and two Poisson regression models, parsimonious and full, to assess the household food security status and determinants of food security among the smallholder farmers and pastoralists. The results show that 61% of the households were either mildly, moderately, or severely food insecure. Households in the beef value chain experienced relatively higher incidences of food insecurity compared to households in the wheat and dairy value chains. The HFIAS scores revealed a wide gap between households with minimum and maximum score. Household size, income and income-related variables (ability to save and borrow to meet family needs), transport assets, membership in farmers’ associations, and household energy were significant in determining household food security, while access to credit and to extension services was not. Strategies that focus on boosting smallholder farmers’ incomes, building strong and resilient farmers associations to improve inclusive and equitable value chains have the potential to get smallholder farmers out of recurrent food insecurity.
3. Beef Production in the Rangelands: A Comparative Assessment between Pastoralism and Large-Scale Ranching in Laikipia County, Kenya
University of Nairobi, Kenya
Beef production in Kenya is the forte of pastoralists and large-scale ranches in the Arid
and Semi-Arid areas. Cross sectional data was collected from 67 pastoralists and seven large-scale ranches, selected through multistage stratified sampling. Comparative descriptive statistics, gross margin analysis and analysis of production constraints were done with the objective of assessing the pastoralists and large-scale ranches direct economic gains, constraints to production and potential for upgrading. Gross margin analysis showed that beef production is profitable for both pastoralists and large-scale ranches. However, large-scale ranches had much higher gross margins of up to six times more. There were significant differences in the live weight of cattle, prices and livestock selling channels and cost of production. Drought, livestock diseases, invasive plant species, lack of water and human-wildlife conflict were among factors limiting productivity of pastoralists. The difference in gross margins indicates existing potential for pastoralists to improve their earnings through a combination of product, process, and functional upgrading. Addressing key constraints to production can contribute to better gains and strengthen coexistence between pastoralists and large-scale ranches. Strategies and programmes to enhance cattle fattening, provision of livestock extension services, affordable feed inputs and collaboration between the two production systems should be considered in upgrading.