KMT Policy Brief
Climate Resilient Economic Development in Kenya’s ASALs - A Pathway To Achieving The Big Four Agenda
The ASALs cover 89% of Kenya, support 38% of the population (RoK 2012), and are Kenya’s major meat producing areas, contributing more than 80% of domestic red meat consumption (Behnke and Muthami, 2011). The livestock sector alone contributes 12% of national GDP and 43% of agricultural GDP (approximately US$ 4 billion per year) as well as employing 50% of the agricultural workforce (Behnke and Muthami, 2011).
Due to their size and economic potential, the ASALs will play an important role in the realisation of the Big Four Agenda, which are achieving 100% food and nutrition security, increasing manufacturing to 15% GDP, providing affordable housing and universal healthcare.
Key Messages From The Policy Brief
Climate change represents a big threat to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda
Five of Kenya’s ASAL counties (West Pokot, Laikipia, Turkana, Baringo and Narok) have already passed the 1.5°C average warming threshold, which is enshrined in the Paris Agreement, with 12 more counties projected to follow by 2050. By 2070, maximum temperatures in all counties are expected to exceed 1.5°C, and in the counties of Wajir, West Pokot and Tana River, temperature increases will exceed 2°C. Projections indicate that the impacts of climate change will be significant in the ASALs, as detailed in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published in October 2018.
To manage the impacts and take advantage of opportunities associated with climate change, the Kenya government and its development partners
To manage the impacts and take advantage of opportunities associated with climate change, the Kenya government and its development partners need to support the productive sectors in the ASALs, such as the livestock sector, and prioritise investments and policies that will enhance climate- resilient economic development. These include investments to upgrade and transform the livestock value chain for better quality meat, milk and leather products. Doing so will contribute to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) are sites of major economic activity and are vital to national food security
The ASALs will therefore a big role in Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. As areas of growth and opportunity, the Kenya government should fully integrate the ASALs into the national economy if it is to achieve the Big Four Agenda, especially related to 100% food security and nutrition, and manufacturing.
There is a clear role for government to provide an enabling environment
There is a clear role for government to provide an enabling environment, such as through climate information, extension and financial services, for private sector adaptation and to support businesses, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in their efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
ASALs As The New Frontier For Economic Development
With the right investments, the ASALs productive sectors can contribute significantly to achieving food and nutritional security, through increased and more commercialised production of meat and milk.
The ASALs can also increase the share of manufacturing and agro-processing nationally by upgrading the meat and dairy value chains and diversifying into related industries, including leather. This is also in line with Kenya’s long- term development agenda, Vision 2030, which identifies the ASALs as a top priority for investment.
Risks in the ASALs
The risks that climate change poses to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda are well recognised in Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022.
Climate impacts are predicted to be particularly pronounced in the ASALs where the economy and rural livelihoods are highly dependent on climate-sensitive activities. Impacts are already being felt, with increasingly frequent and severe droughts and floods, more erratic rainfall and higher average temperatures affecting food production and water availability (IPCC, 2014).
The latest evidence for the 21 ASAL counties shows an increase in temperature between 1977 and 2016, with five counties (West Pokot, Laikipia, Turkana, Baringo and Narok) surpassing the 1.5°C UNFCCC warming target enshrined in the Paris Agreement (Said et al., in review). Rainfall has declined in 15 out of the 21 counties between 1960 and 2014 (Ogutu et al., 2016). Future trends based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 climate projection2, show that increases in temperature will continue with another 12 counties exceeding 1.5°C warming by 2050, as well as an increase in rainfall during the short rainy season (October–November–December)
Harnessing The Opportunities In A Changing Climate
Sectors where production is rooted in the ASALs are vulnerable and exposed to climate risk but there is also inherent adaptive capacity in these systems that can form the basis of climate-resilient economic development (Carabine and Simonet, 2018).
The demand for livestock products – meat and milk – is growing as urban centres expand and wealth levels increase. A shortfall in Kenya’s domestic beef supply of 18% (KMT, 2014) is currently being met by cattle coming in from neighbouring countries, including Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan. This points to opportunities for growth and transformation in the livestock sector that can contribute to the food security and manufacturing aims of the Big Four.
Recommendations for investments in the ASALs for climate-resilient economic development and the Big Four Agenda
The national and county governments need to change the narrative of ASALs that capture their potential as the new frontiers of development in Kenya
This will help raise the profile of the ASALs and recognise them as areas that will be increasingly important for climate- resilient economic development and investment. As part of this, government and development partners should place greater emphasis on the importance of ASALs and particularly the livestock sector in achieving the targets of the Big Four Agenda and Vision 2030.
The national and county governments, supported by development partners, will need to support adaptation within the range of private actors already thriving in Kenya’s ASALs
SMEs are recognised as key to value addition and manufacturing in the Big Four Agenda. The ability of private actors to respond to climate risks will depend on factors that are shaped through implementation of supporting policies. These interventions need to target and be accessible to the full range of private sector actors in ASALs, including informal actors, producer associations and women-led enterprises.
The national and county governments, supported by development partners and the private sector, need to ensure that adequate investments and an appropriate enabling environment for public and private adaptation are developed
The national and county governments, supported by development partners and the private sector, need to ensure that adequate investments and an appropriate enabling environment for public and private adaptation are developed in order to achieve national and county development goals and increase resilience to climate shocks. What is clear is that public and private sectors must partner together to deliver services and infrastructure for livestock sector development
The national and county government should develop and implement policies to facilitate the mobility of people and livestock
The national and county government should develop and implement policies to facilitate the mobility of people and livestock. These policies and associated implementation strategies need to incorporate and take account of the inherent adaptive capacity of the ASALs – including flexibility, mobility and informality – that will be important in managing increasing climate risk. This includes supporting sustainable land and pasture management through resource sharing mechanisms, such as livestock corridors and strengthened social networks.
The national and county governments, supported by their development partners, should adopt and implement inclusive policies that support and enhance the adaptive capacity of women, youth and other vulnerable groups
Although the national government recognises the need to support female-led enterprises in various policies, including climate change legislation, these policies are currently poorly implemented and mainstreamed at the local level. More support and priority is needed for the benefits of these policies to be realised in real terms.
The national government should investigate what the impacts of climate change will be for the Big Four Agenda
This should include a full assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on livestock and crops in achieving food and nutritional security, as well as an understanding of the economic cost of not taking adaptation or mitigation action against the impacts of climate change.
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 is well aligned with the Big Four Agenda
The National Climate Change Action Plan 2018–2022 is well aligned with the Big Four Agenda. The Big Four Agenda should now be aligned with Kenya’s Climate- Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework 2018–2027, which aims to promote the growth of climate-resilient low carbon and sustainable agriculture that ensures food security and contributes to national development goals. To ensure implementation of the Big Four Agenda at the county level, county governments should strive to align their County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs) and other development plans and strategies, with the Big Four priorities.