At Kenya Markets Trust, we acknowledge sustainable rangeland management practices as one of the means of transforming the livestock sector in the country.
Sustainable Rangeland Management (SRM) refers to practices and technologies that aim to integrate the management of land, water, biodiversity, and other environmental resources to meet human needs while ensuring the long-term sustainability of ecosystem services and human livelihoods.
It is important to regulate the use of land as its demand is rising by the day. A UNEP report gives the following as Kenya’s land and population demand:
In July 2016, we facilitated a workshop that brought together County officials heading the Agriculture and Livestock faculties in 7 ASAL Counties (Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo, Samburu, Mandera, Garissa and Tana River) to discuss various issues facing the livestock sector in their respective counties, among them collaborative SRM.
They collectively signed “The Shaba Declaration” as a way forward for the development of the sector. From the deliberations of this workshop, the officials unanimously agreed on the centrality of the rangelands in the sector and the inherent need to fast track harmonization and completion of all their County Rangeland Management Bills.
This was expected to result in uniformity in practice and adoption of similar rangeland management models. The officials agreed that rangeland management in drylands couldn’t be sustained if done in isolation. Other factors to be considered for a successful SRM in the ASAL counties were community agreement, mutual understanding and strategic planning of grazing pattern throughout the seasons.
After the “Shaba Declaration”, KMT through VETAID Consultants (experts in rangeland management) and the Frontier Counties Development (FCDC) has been supporting the ASAL Counties to develop a prototype bill that would then be modified and adopted by the different county governments. FCDC’s mandate is to promote, coordinate and facilitate the active and extensive participation of all sectors to effect the socio-economic development of its member counties through a holistic and integrated approach to promote and strengthen inter-regional linkages.
This collaboration has now led to development of a draft prototype bill whose objective is to facilitate and promote the sustainable and holistic management of rangelands and rangeland resources through the following:
- Strengthening customary mechanisms for grazing control;
- Facilitating community peace building;
- Promoting inter-community access to rangeland resources;
- Regulation of fencing in rangeland areas;
- Protection of seasonal rangeland reserves;
- Optimize the economic potential of the rangelands;
- Facilitate land related county planning and development under the fourth schedule of Kenya; and
- Adopt any other approaches and initiatives in furtherance of the objectives stated above
This bill has since been presented to the relevant county officials for their input, and all is set for its ratification.
Having a collaborative approach in rangeland management in the counties will go a long way in addressing the degrading rangeland that is getting unfavorable to support livestock production.