Increasing Tenure Security to Enhance Sustainability by Using Smart Land Management Tools in Kenya


Land is a limited resource that suffers from many demands and is exposed to external factors which can affect the usability of land. Due to its nature it is difficult to increase land except in rare cases where soil is recovered from the ocean or additional layers/levels are added. The external factors that influence the availability or scarcity of land are for example weather and climate change or population growth. Last indicator for the scarcity of land can be mostly found in the global south and comes along with huge challenges toward land management.

According to official numbers from the World Bank, Kenya has grown more than five times in population from 1960 (8.1 million) to 2017 (49.7 million), which puts an enormous pressure on land and its utilization as agricultural land. An increased demand of agricultural products can not only be provided by new seeds, improved agricultural techniques or fertilization. The recent past has shown that the overuse of land especially in Kenya has resulted in large deforestation, water scarcity, soil degradation, soil erosion and a severe decrease on biodiversity.

This phenomenon can be witnessed in many countries of the global south and leads to a large set of problems. In combination with external threats and scarcity of water or nutrition in agricultural areas it threatens the existence of local small-scale farmers and food security of the people depending on the grown crops and puts its country in a dangerous imbalance. In order to balance that imbalance several multinational and international organizations are trying to bring up solutions by handing out guidelines on agriculture or giving out regulations like the Paris climate convention which was ratified from Kenya in 2016 (Ministry of Environment and Forestry 2019).

Despite all of these attempts to improve the situation a persisting development toward a larger unbalance can be witnessed. Therefore a sustainable and smart approach on land management is urgently needed to secure the livelihood of local farmers and future generations. This chapter will put a spotlight into a very important agricultural area in Kenya and analyses its current situation to develop possible smart measurements for improvement of tenure security inside that study area. Although the research area seems to be very specific, it shares its problems with most other areas of agricultural land-use within subsistence farmers inside a customary tenure system setting.

Theoretical Perspective

Tenure security is a very complex topic that is influenced by many different factors. For this chapter a short introduction toward tenure security will be made to understand the factors influencing tenure security and its effects on land-related decisions.

Therefore, tenure security will be divided into three dimensions of security all interacting and creating a triangle of security in w'hich the subsistence farmers are making decisions on the land and its use. The triangle can be seen in Figure 21.1: “Rules of tenure define how' property rights to land are to be allocated within societies. They define how access is granted to rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as associated responsibilities and restraints” (FAO 2002).

21.2.1 Legal Tenure Security

Legal tenure security is given by the institutional framework that is represented by the individual government. The government sets the legal framework for tenure security and land rights in particular.

21.2.2 Personal/Received Tenure Security

Perceived security is mainly developed through personal experiences the persons were having and influenced by the happenings in the past and it is describing the personal relationship toward the

Dimensions of tenure security. (From Author 2019.) own land. It can be influenced by media and stories from others and usually represents the most important factor for the individual over all security

FIGURE 21.1 Dimensions of tenure security. (From Author 2019.) own land. It can be influenced by media and stories from others and usually represents the most important factor for the individual over all security.

21.2.3 Customary Tenure Security

In countries with an existing customary land system the community and the customary tenure sets a third party of this triangle on tenure security. Customary tenure security can enforce social justice inside a tribe or cultural group on tenure where the legal framework is failing. Depending on the country and the legal land rights the customary land rights can be included and recognized by the formal land rights but customary land rights usually are adjusted by each customary group and can take part in providing tenure security to a large extend.

In order to get to the central decisions the individual persons will have to balance the three dimensions of security and add individual weight to them. To result into a sustainable decision all three dimensions have to be analyzed for their influencing indicators. Therefore, a set of decisions has to be analyzed within a multicriteria decision analysis to result into a multicriteria analysis (MCA). The influencing indicators that lead to the decisions inside the dimension triangle are analyzed and described within this chapter and smart solutions to overcome these insecurities are discussed then in the findings to give possible smart solutions in order to improve tenure security.

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