Facilitating land access to smallholders


While leasing farming land is a common practice in rural Kenya, existing legal provisions for leasing land are unclear to many community members.

The community sees the official process as very costly, serving well-off people who lease large and/or high-value land.

Community-led land lease guidelines, on the contrary, are accessible to smallholders. The guidelines are very popular because the community co-developed them.

TMG Research and Shibuye Community Health Workers (CHW) have facilitated a pioneering process in the wards of Isukha Central and Isukha West in Kakamega County.


Women and youth are the most affected


The process addresses the chronic challenge of limited or no access to and control over land. This problem particularly affects women and youth and is a significant barrier to food production and the adoption of sustainable land management (SLM) in western Kenya.

Most rural households in Kakamega County depend on agriculture. But ever-increasing demand for food and housing to accommodate a growing population has put tremendous pressure on land. The current average land holding per family is approximately 0.6 ha.

Even where land is available, the distribution of land access is unequal between family members due to customary inheritance laws that favor male household heads. Consequently, women and youth are disadvantaged. This insecure access to land affects women and youth’s abilities to invest in soil protection. Lower SLM adoption rates are a direct consequence.


The process of Community-led Land Lease Guidelines step by step


The guidelines drawn up by the community followed six steps:

1. Consultations with formal institutions

2. Mobilization at the community level

3. Drafting of land lease guidelines

4. Consolidation and approval

5. Popularizing the lease guidelines

6. Adoption and monitoring


Read the full community-led land lease guidelines and article on TMG Soilmates website. 

Supporting smallholder farmers access land through leasing

Publisher: TMG – Think Tank

Ecosystem(s): Agricultural Land

Location(s): Kenya

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