Impacts of market forces on land use changes and its implications on the common property resources in Ngong Division
Kanyiri, Bernard K
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The research was conducted around Ngong Division in Kajiado County. The aim was to investigate the contribution of market forces in land use changes and the impacts of the two forces on the local CPRs. This was mainly due to the problems associated with. rapid growth in human population in a region consisting of fragile resources and th.eir historical contribution in safeguarding the indigenous community presently losing their riparian rights over what was important part of their life-cycle. The objective of the study was mainly to investigate the interplay between market forces, land use changes and their impacts on CPRs. To be able appreciate the relationships between these forces a simplified concentric conceptual model was developed with its centre being the CPRs around which market force developments exact their capitalistic influence. The outer part provides the outcomes of identified the market forces. The study adopted several approaches including the review of relevant resource based documents. Such were demographic data, resource revenue records and local policy guidelines. Areas experiencing rapid land use changes were sampled out and used as representative of the whole region. This was followed by a survey of the squatter population living near the Ngong Hill Ecosystems (Mathare Village and Forest Strip Squatters) so as to appreciate the interplay between the influence of market forces on the use of the available CPRs and how their activities may have impacted on the status of CPRs and overall resource productivity. Data collection was mainly through a simple survey subjected to the squatters who to depended on the CPRs for their livelihoods. This was important in validating the recorded data obtained from the divisional resource personnels and illustrations of the interplay between CPRs and the pruductivity of the resource dependent segroents. A questionnaire was also administered to several homesteads in the squatter settlements with the help of some local field extension officers from the provincial administration. The questionnaire was supported by interview method and focused group discussion with knowledgeable people who may have witnessed the introduction of new land uses and resultant changes in CPRs. Personal observation was used as a method of identifying new uses in areas treated as CPRs. Data was recorded by filling in the questionnaire, use of photographs, tabulations and summarised notes. Copies of critical reportslrecords were taken for further analysis. Data collected was analysed using frequency percentiles to examine the relationships between market forces, land uses, status of CPRs and resource productivity. Research findings were presented using of descriptive methods including simple graphs to show relationships, photographs and a map to show the spatial aspects of the study issues. The project arrived at several findings- These included the continued CPRs degradation due to market driven forces, over extraction, introduction of new crops/plants; and the shifts in production methods in animal husbandry (Zero grazing and tethering) quickly replacing the traditional free range grazing methods. Declining productivity was noted in the shrinkage in sizes of animal herds; farmland sizes under arable agriculture, diminished forest service based revenue and degraded water resources. Land degradation has culminated to the increased human vulnerability. The overall impact of the decline in environmental quality has been increased conflicts illustrated by competing uses of CPRs as the main source of income of the FD (fines and penalties from the unlawful exploitation of the NHE). The project identified pollution due to poor waste management as a major sect back in the management of the CPRs as open access land has been turned into waste disposal sites. Thus unfavourable land uses have intensified the rate of CPRs degradation. Small scale irrigation agriculture along River Kiserian have contributed to degradation of water and soil resources through modification of river line ecological system due to unchecked obstruction and abstraction and, use of agro-chemicals. Case studies were used as important indicators of the evolutionary nature of CPRs degradation. The project recommended the need for an integrated and a pro-poor resource management approach, the need to harmonize changes in land use with environment sustainability and harmonization of the different resource management policies. Developments that have been the epithets of the market forces must be implemented with caution so as to limit their negative implications. Further research on the trend in changes in land use patterns and their impacts on the CPRs need to be undertaken.