Land reform in Kenya

PhD Thesis

Ndengu, Musa 2000. Land reform in Kenya. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Computing and Technology
AuthorsNdengu, Musa
TypePhD Thesis

This research investigates the effectiveness of land reform in Kenya in relation to its stated policy aims of improving farm productivity through case studies of three districts
where land reform has been implemented. One was an area with dense population and predominant customary form of land tenure (Kakamega); another one had the most recent
land reform programme - group-ranching system (Kajiado); and the third had an early land reform acclaimed as a success within the former 'white highlands (Trans Nzoia).
Although many studies on land reform suggest that collateral is one of the common ways of funding agricultural development, this was found to be defective as it does not test the borrower's ability to repay the loan, encourages excessive borrowing, and repayment
schedules are often not realistic. For many farmers, the use of land as collateral depended on their ability to process title deeds; financial institutions to lend money; no market distortions/information asymmetry; and absence of cultural restrictions. We have also demonstrated that how land rights are assigned and the land tenure security determines households ability to generate income, their social and economic status, incentives to make investments, and a farmer's ability to access financial markets.
Creation of land board committees in Kenya composed of local elders for resolving land disputes was aimed at increasing their (elders) involvement leading to decisions that reflected community wishes. Our findings were that on average, about 70 per cent of such decisions on land disputes were upheld by courts of appeal on technicalities because land boards lack a sufficient basis in law and there was no training programme for the members. Group ownership of land with shared possession and communal decision making on its administration hardly existed in the case study areas but was used to foster unity, address social needs, and provided a mechanism for disbursing inequalities in ability, knowledge and wealth. On gender issues and land tenure, the need for increased tenure security to women was found not be enough for their participation in the land market without access to credit, information, and appropriate technologies. This research
has proposed an improved system of managing land reforms based upon an analysis of existing land record system, and formulated an alternative address referencing system.

KeywordsLand reform in Kenya; Land tenure; Land rights
Publication dates
PrintNov 2000
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Mar 2014
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