Kenya: Only 17% of ag land is still fertile and more forest clearing is not a solution

“Large-scale, uncontrolled human activities like charcoal production, logging, settlement and crop cultivation pose a huge threat.” In its recent findings, the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep) says the agricultural sector is losing up to Sh200 billion revenue because of soil erosion. Of 58 million hectares earmarked for agriculture, only 17 per cent has high to medium potential for farming.

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The arid and semi-arid lands cover about 83 per cent, and only a small
percentage is suitable for livestock rearing. The report, “Kenya:
Atlas of our changing environment” says productivity in high to medium
potential lands is declining in the face of growing demand for food
and other agricultural products.

“Changing environmental factors related in part to climate change have already had an impact on food security for Kenyans who would benefit from reliable forecasts, increased water availability and improved soil fertility,” it says.

Some 400,000 Kenyans who grow 60 per cent of the tea in the country risk losing their livelihood if a temperature rise of only two degrees Celsius occurs due to global warming as large areas would be declared unsuitable for the crop. The experts have also sounded the alarm on the destruction of water catchment areas through deforestation and other human activities.

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