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.
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