Small scale farmers' perceptions of the effects of deforestation on their livelihoods : a case study of Loitoktok ivision, Kajiado District
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The main purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of hlrmers on the effects of deforestation on their livelihoods in Loitoktok division. The objectives of the study focused on farmers' perceptions of deforestation and how it affects farmers' livelihoods, finding out how farmers' subsistence activities influence deforestation and lastly to assess the extent to which farmers have access to information and education. A sample size of ninety farmers was chosen through cluster sampling, from three locations in Loitoktok division. The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative data was obtained from the farmers through the use of a structured questionnaire. Qualitative data was generated from key informants through the use of the key informant guide. Using the statistical package for social sciences, the data was analyzed bringing out the means, frequencies, tabulations and cross tabulations and percentiles that summarized the data in a meaningful way. From the study, it emerged that farmers perceived deforestation as a form contributing to reduced livelihoods. The farmers noted that through deforestation in Loitoktok, there has been unreliable rainfall in Kenya as compared to Tanzania which borders Kenya. Tanzania experiences more rainfall than Kenya because tree planting is encouraged. Farmers noted that their livelihoods are affected through reduced yields, increase in cost of fuel, timber for building purposes and wood products. This has resulted in life getting difficult for farmers who dcpend on fanning for their sustenance. It also emerged that farmers in Loitoktok have in the past not becn keen on planting trees because of cheap and readily available wood products from Tanzania. This has changed since the introduction of new policies banning logging in Tanzania, leading to lack or availability of wood products in Kenya thus affecting farmers' livelihoods significantly. There is need therefore for the government to take on this challenge or deforestation that is as a result of expanding farmlands. Solutions on agro-forestry need to be established. Planting trees in farms may be the solution to this problem or deforestation.