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Why the passing of The Community Land Act 2016 is a step in the right direction ...

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Pastoralist societies around the world are currently facing more pressures on their land than ever before. Contributing to the land pressure, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is the stance taken by policy makers who are pursuing policies that have sought to transform pastoralism into sedentary and intensified production systems. Simply put, stop the migratory and extensive nature of livestock production, which require large sizes of land. In Kenya, after devolution, the demand for individualization and privatization on community land has increased as people seek to speculate in land markets and make huge returns by betting on the expanding urbanization that is expected to follow devolution and development of mega projects, some of which are part of the Kenya vision 2030 projects. However, it is important to note that most of the pastoralist areas, change in use of land from extensive livestock production to other uses in very expensive. Second, pastoralist communities now face pressure from increasing population and climate variability. As a result, land available for pastoralists who have maintained the large herds of animal herds has been declining. Similarly, the fragmentation of land in pastoral areas has complicated sustainable use of resources in these areas. For example, in pastoral communities in the country result to violent conflict, many times fatal, due to completion for diminishing resources. The fights involve pastoral communities fighting among themselves or with other groups such as farmers.

A growing body of research now shows that communities are efficient in use of land making most of scarce resources found in pastoral areas. They achieve this by adapting their productive activities to the high climate variability and uncertainty of pastoral areas. This makes their production systems to not only be the most suited but also the most sustainable compared to alternative uses. This make the understanding of how these communities manage their land and utilize land to be critical especially to policy makers who seek to enact policies that has far reaching effect on their livelihoods as well as the sustainability of the ecological environment.

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