Beyond Land Titling for Sustainable Management of Agricultural Land: Lessons from Ndome and Ghazi in Taita-Taveta, Kenya

Fuchaka Waswa, Helmut Eggers, Thomas Kutsch


This paper is based on a 1996-1999 case study that was done in semi-arid Ndome and Ghazi, Taita-Taveta District, in Kenya to determine the root causes of persistent erosion damage in the area. More than 10 years after land adjudication was done in these areas, more than 70% of the farmers still operate under tenure insecurity mainly due to lack of title deeds (r = 0.94**). Contrary to conventional expectation of land development, owning of land under private property rights was motivated by the sense of belonging, wealth, power and to some degree for speculative purposes. Adoption of structural soil and water conservation measures was still well below 50%. Preference was still given to indigenous land and water management (ILWM) technologies, with adoption rates
ranging from 60% to more than 90%. No evidence existed that directly linked land improvement to land titling. For sustainable land management, land titling remains a critical incentive to farmers. However it will have to be accompanied by land use policy reforms that address four main issues, thus: deliberate efforts to preserve agricultural land, equitable distribution of available land, putting as much land as possible to agricultural
use, and mechanisms to enhance prevention and control of land degradation. How these objectives can be achieved within the Kenyan context is the conceptual gist of this paper.


land titling, sustainable land management, policies, Kenya

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