Evaluation of environmental impacts of large coffee enterprises in Kiambaa: a political economy approach
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It is necessary for development to be undertaken on sustainable basis. Such a development process should take from the environment as much and as fast as the environment is able to renew itself. It should be fitted within the ecological and the socioeconomic spheres of the relevant environment. When and where any development activity is undertaken this way, unnecessary expenses -both in ecological and economic terms- would be averted. Large-scale coffee production in Kiambaa division is not self-sustaining. This is in respect to the fact that it takes from the environment more than the environment is capable of renewing itself, making it necessary for the introduction and application of vast amounts of chemicals -fertilizers, pest and weed killers. As a consequence to this, the end result is a poisoned environment which not only affects (adversely) - physical environmental attributes (soils vegetation, water resources and environmental aesthetic component), but also employees and Local households who live and work within the relevant environment. In addition to this, coffee production in the estates is not sustainable in the sense that it does not enable employees to adequately meet basic needs. The study appraises coffee production practices with the aim of evaluating both environmental and social economic impacts that they pose to the environment in the study area. The study employs Environmental Impact Assessment methodology and other normal statistical tools to evaluate environmental and socio-economic impacts respectively. Using data collected in the field, the study established important and significant impacts most of which affected both the physical and socio-economic environments adversely, while some could be termed beneficial. In cognizance to these findings, the study recommends a revisit of environmental policies to encompass policies on what production practices should be adopted. Secondly, the study recommends the inclusion to land acquisition policies, the provision of ceiling on the amount of land an individual should own. Through this way, production in the estates would be diversified from being basically monocultural to being multi-crop farming on one hand, and would enable the return of the estates' lands to the peasants who once owned them, on the other .