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Triple-L digs deeper into land-use transitions in the drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa

Photo by ILRI\Zerihun Sewunet via Flickr.

Tezera a women farmer gets help from her 10 year old daughter in keeping her sheep, Menz, Ethiopia.

Photo by ILRI\Zerihun Sewunet via Flickr.

Development in drylands of Kenya, and in much of the Sub-Saharan Africa, is often dominated by a transition from nomadic pastoralism to sedentary livestock based agro-pastoral livelihoods. This is the research and action areas of Triple L Research Initiative that operates on the connections between land, livestock and livelihoods. The Initiative focuses on biophysical and socio-economic research as well as on the interactions with different stakeholders, local policy, NGO’s and CBO’s.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of the total available land is mainly used for livestock; 25 million pastoral and 240 agro-pastoral farmers depend on livestock as their primary source of income. Many drylands have a history of being overgrazed and degraded with low productivity, recurrently struck by famines. These areas are often an arena for land conflicts with economic and political marginalisation of pastoralist communities.

Recent research from the Initiative indicates a rapid conversion towards intensive, livestock based agro-pastoralist production systems in East African arid- and semi-arid lands. Understanding these transitions requires moving from simplistic and linear representations of both the causes of change and the processes of change themselves to a focus on situation-specific interactions among many factors at different spatial and temporal scales (including natural variability as well as economic, technological, demographic, institutional and cultural factors).

Leaning on previous work and research, the Triple-L Expert Group will:

  • Have broader climatic and cultural gradients, i.e. including systems where agro-pastoralism is not so dominating but mixed with higher degrees of pastoralism
  • Widen its institutional networking and going into closer cooperation with developmental actors and County governments

Triple L will “host” several separate research projects funded from various national (Swedish and Kenyan) and international research councils. The outcomes of the SIANI Expert Group contribution will be (note that there will also be other activities, much more if we get other external funding):

  • One Kenyan MSc thesis + one scientific publication on the biophysical, social and economic development for household in Chepareria. This will be done by Ms Lonah Mukoya on part time basis; she is working with Vi Agroforestry and pursuing her MSc at University of Nairobi. The format will follow the Vi Agroforestry Monitoring and Evaluation questionnaire from 2007 and work with the same households, and hence she will be able to compare over time. Some recent questions generated by recent research will be added to the questionnaires.
  • One Kenyan MSc thesis that will dig even deeper into the development of household economics and with a special focus on gender issues.  Some of the previous Triple L research indicate that the development, of which the use of enclosures for land use management, during the last 30 years has been positive from a gender balance perspective. This will be done by Ms Emily Chelimo, also a Vi Agroforestry employee, pursuing her MSc at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
  • Will invite two Kenyan partners to present Triple L research at the Agri4D conference in Uppsala in September this year. There will also be 1-2 Swedish presentations on Triple L and its research.
  • Using the funding from SIANI, Triple-L will organise the annual Triple L workshop in Kitale/Kapenguria in November (but without funding we will not be able to organise that). As on previous workshop local officials and policy makers will participate. This time there will be a special focus on following up on discussions and recommendations from the 2016 workshop.