Effects of population change on land use in Kisii district, Kenya
Omare, Christopher N
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The relationship betv/een population change and land use is a very essential pre-requisite for achieving proper planning policies on employment and production. In this study the population change in relation to the production patterns and trends in Kisii are discussed. It has been observed that not only population change influences land use practices but the relationship between the two variables i.e. population change and land use, incorporate also the influence of other independent variables inherent in historical economic development. The study foresees that there would be discernible upper-limit to the increased production of coffee, tea, and pyrethrum in Kisii district. Once the upper-limit has been reached population growth will induce the number of workers per unit land and income levels to and below subsistence level. Once subsistence will no longer be sustainable out migration forces will set in motion. This study suggest that the production patterns require complete transformation i.e. change from industrial (cash) crop to Horticultural production not only for increase in overall per capita incomes but also to allow for increase in subsistence production for the increasing population. Horticultural production requires less land and give higher potential returns to both unit of land and labour. Uprooting of coffee trees has been suggested; and change in the eating habits by adoption of potatoes in place of maize as staple food has also been suggested. It has also been argued against employment creation in agricultural production and the need to have non-agricultural activities in the district. The study foresees that diversification of agricultural production alone will not sustain the growing needs for income earning and employment opportunities for the increasing population. To this end the study recommends further research to examine the relationship between population change and non-farming activities in the district.
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