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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jayne, Thomas S. & Muyanga, Milu, 2012. "Land Constraints in Kenya’s Densely Populated Rural Areas: Implications for Food Policy and Institutional Reform," 86th Annual Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 134723, Agricultural Economics Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aesc12:134723
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/134723
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jayne, T. S. & Yamano, Takashi & Weber, Michael T. & Tschirley, David & Benfica, Rui & Chapoto, Antony & Zulu, Ballard, 2003. "Smallholder income and land distribution in Africa: implications for poverty reduction strategies," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 253-275, June.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Kalonga Stambuli, 2002. "Elitist Land and Agriculture Policies and the Food Problem in Malawi," Microeconomics 0211014, EconWPA.
    6. Mundlak, Yair, 1978. "On the Pooling of Time Series and Cross Section Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 69-85, January.
    7. 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.
    8. Jayne, Thomas S. & Zulu, Ballard & Kajoba, Gear & Weber, Michael T., 2008. "Access to Land, and Poverty Reduction in Rural Zambia: Connecting the Policy Issues," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 54493, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    9. Hans Binswanger & Prabhu Pingali, 1989. "Technological priorities for farming in Sub‐Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 46-65, January.
    10. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    11. 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.
    12. Woodhouse, Philip, 2003. "African Enclosures: A Default Mode of Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(10), pages 1705-1720, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alden Wily Liz, 2014. "The Law and Land Grabbing: Friend or Foe?," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-36, December.
    2. Wineman, Ayala & Jayne, Thomas S., 2016. "Intra-Rural Migration in Tanzania and Pathways of Welfare Change," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235957, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Sheahan, Megan & Ariga, Joshua & Jayne, Thomas 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Yeboah, F. Kwame & Jayne, T.S., 2016. "Africa’s Evolving Employment Structure," Food Security International Development Working Papers 246956, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    6. Jayne, T.S. & Chamberlin, Jordan & Headey, Derek D., 2014. "Land pressures, the evolution of farming systems, and development strategies in Africa: A synthesis," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-17.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
    • Q24 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Land

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