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Land Constraints in Kenya’s Densely Populated Rural Areas: Implications for Food Policy and Institutional Reform

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  • Jayne, Thomas S.
  • Muyanga, Milu

Abstract

This study analyzes the impact of increasing population density in Kenya’s rural areas on smallholder behavior and welfare indicators. We first present evidence to explain how land constraints can be emerging within an overall context of apparent land under-utilization. Using data from five panel surveys on 1,146 small-scale farms over the 1997-2010 period, we use econometric techniques to determine how increasing rural population density is affecting farm household behavior and livelihoods. We find that farm productivity and incomes tend to rise with population density up to 600-650 persons per km2; beyond this threshold, rising population density is associated with sharp declines in farm productivity, total household income, and asset wealth. Currently 14% of Kenya’s rural population resides in areas exceeding this population density. The study concludes by exploring the nature of institutional and policy reforms needed to address these development problems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural Economics Society in its series 86th Annual Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Warwick University, Coventry, UK with number 134723.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc12:134723

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Keywords: Land; population density; smallholder agriculture; food security; policy; Kenya; Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Security and Poverty; Land Economics/Use; Q15; Q18; Q24;

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  1. Jayne, Thomas S. & Zulu, Ballard & Kajoba, Gear & Weber, Michael T., 2009. "Access to Land and Poverty Reduction in Rural Zambia: Connecting the Policy Issues," Food Security Collaborative Policy Briefs 55054, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  2. Binswanger, Hans P & McIntire, John, 1987. "Behavioral and Material Determinants of Production Relations in Land-Abundant Tropical Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 73-99, October.
  3. Deininger, Klaus & Binswanger, Hans P, 1995. "Rent Seeking and the Development of Large-Scale Agriculture in Kenya, South Africa, and Zimbabwe," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(3), pages 493-522, April.
  4. Jayne, Thomas S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David L. & Benfica, Rui M.S. & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard & Neven, David, 2002. "Smallholder Income and Land Distribution in Africa: Implications for Poverty Reduction Strategies," Food Security International Development Policy Syntheses 11295, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
  5. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
  6. Kalonga Stambuli, 2002. "Elitist Land and Agriculture Policies and the Food Problem in Malawi," Microeconomics 0211014, EconWPA.
  7. Barrett, Christopher B., 2008. "Smallholder market participation: Concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 299-317, August.
  8. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  9. Woodhouse, Philip, 2003. "African Enclosures: A Default Mode of Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1705-1720, October.
  10. Michael Carter & Christopher Barrett, 2006. "The economics of poverty traps and persistent poverty: An asset-based approach," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 178-199.
  11. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, December.
  12. Binswanger, Hans & Pingali, Prabhu, 1988. "Technological Priorities for Farming in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 3(1), pages 81-98, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Josephson, Anna Leigh & Ricker-Gilbert, Jacob & Florax, Raymond J.G.M. & Chamberlain, Jordan & Heady, Derek, 2012. "How does Population Density affect Agricultural Productivity? Evidence from Ethiopia," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124996, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Sheahan, Megan & Ariga, Joshua & Jayne, T.S., 2013. "Modeling the Effects of Input Market Reforms on Fertilizer Demand and Maize Production: A Case Study of Kenya," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150697, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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