Effects of Land Degradation on Agricultural Land Use: A Case Study of Smallholder Farmers Indigenous Knowledge on Land Use Planning and Management in Kalama Division, Machakos County
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Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of land degradation on agricultural land use, planning and management in Kalama Division, Machakos County; and specifically determined farmers’ considerations of land suitability for selected types of agricultural land uses in varying cropping zones, investigated farmers’ local environmental knowledge of land degradation indicators and finally documented farmers’ land management strategies and practices for soil and water conservation. Data was collected using a questionnaire, along a road transect cutting across upper, middle and lower zones (parts) of a slope. A total of 40 households along the transect on the three zones were interviewed. Results obtained revealed that crop farming, livestock, poultry, farm forestry and bee keeping were the major agricultural land use activities carried out in the study area. Overall, steep slope was the most important factor considered for farm forestry (17%) (5.29 STDEV). Bee farming was the least land use practice accounting for only 1% of total land use. Most land degradation (15%) was reported in the middle zone while lowest land degradation (7%) was reported in the upper zone. The study found out that most households were aware of land degradation indicators in their local environment and described them using their indigenous environmental knowledge. The smallholder farmers prevented further land degradation by use of their local or traditional ways such as application of organic manure, planting of trees, crop rotation, use of gabions and stone lines. Different zones had different land use and management practices due to differences in terrain and other physical and biophysical characteristics. Overall, the major land management practices included tree planting (23%) (4.04 STDEV) and water conservation and gabion making (10%) (2.52 STDEV). This study clearly established an existence of smallholder farmers’ indigenous knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs of the local environmental factors of land condition which are necessary for the farmer’s decision-making on land use planning and management. On the basis of these findings, the study argues for place-based analysis and understanding of the landscape structure and local micro-environments in enhancing understanding of local-level decision-making on land use planning and management by smallholder farmers in maintaining livelihood security. Even though the study is limited to the local scope, it can provide a basis for designing policies aimed at rural livelihood security improvement and inform and facilitate targeting of outside interventions such as land use planning and management programs which can be built on existing indigenous knowledge.
Muloo, M. S., Kioko, K. M., & Jacinta M., K. (2019). Effects of Land Degradation on Agricultural Land Use: A Case Study of Smallholder Farmers Indigenous Knowledge on Land Use Planning and Management in Kalama Division, Machakos County. Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology, 34(3), 1–15