Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)
Improving land management practices in Kenya
Cattle have grazed for generations on pasture along the shores of Lake Baringo, Kenya. But now the land is degraded to the point where it can no longer support this tradition. Rainfall is erratic and climate change is altering precipitation patterns. Because this is public land, tensions on who has the right to graze livestock there have been building, and some farmers have been forced to migrate with their herds. Mr Sampaaka is one of them.
“During the last dry season in 2019, I had to migrate in search of pasture for my cattle…but returned home with no livestock at all. All died in the prolonged drought,” he says.
On his return, Mr Sampaaka joined a project with farmers in a similar situation, run by Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) NGO World Vision Australia. The project supports people without land of their own in community land management and regeneration.
After joining the project, Mr Sampaaka formed a farming group. The group was made up of men, women and young people who wanted to improve the pastureland near Lake Baringo. World Vision Australia gave them ongoing technical and environmental advice.
When the rains finally came, the group began to re-establish grazing land with carefully selected grass seeds that would be hardy without regular irrigation. Between them, the farmers planted 10 acres of pasture, then harvested grass seeds to use again the following year. These seeds provided income to purchase fodder if they needed it. With part of the proceeds, the group also bought four bulls, fattened and sold them for a shared profit.
Government agricultural development officer Mr Labatt sees this as a gamechanger. “With the pasture this group has established, they can feed up to 40 cattle for five months. The pasture they chose is high nutrition content with protein of up to 10 percent,” he says.
Now chairman of the group, Mr Sampaaka says the strategy for restoring pastures is working. The land’s resilience to unpredictable seasons is already improving as a result of the farmers’ land management approach. Livestock have food year-round, conflict over grazing rights has reduced, and pasture is both sustainable and profitable.