Kenya has recently initiated far-reaching land reform. It began with a new Constitution, ratified in 2010. Then, in 2012, the Government of Kenya passed the Land Act, Land Registration Act, and the National Land Commission Act.
All of these laws strengthen the land rights of Kenyans and promote gender equity in accessing land. The Constitution also created the category of “community land,” which will serve as the legal foundation for upholding rights to community-held land.
The reforms have far-reaching implications for improving the livelihoods of Kenya’s rural population of nearly 32 million who largely depend on the crops they grow and the animals they keep for their food security, income, and survival.
Today, three-quarters of Kenya’s people live on one-fifth of all agricultural land that is classified as high-potential. Problems of poor water management, soil erosion, declining soil fertility, and the expansion of agriculture into marginal areas limit farm yield and compound land-related conflicts. Expansion of agriculture in turn infringes on rangelands needed by pastoralists and whittles away at remaining forests.