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Minimum and Maximum Land Holdings in Kenya.Report for National Land Commission and Institution of Surveyors of Kenya

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Abstract

The need for determining minimum and maximum land holdings in Kenya arises from the requirements of Kenya Constitution 2010 and the Land Act 2012. This was a result of recommendations of National Land Policy 2009 that called for equitable access to land for beneficial use and occupation for all Kenyans in the face of a reported skewed land distribution with a guinea coefficient of 0.77.As a result many people are landless while few own large tracts of land which is sometimes under utilised. The study which was based on desk review used a number of variables such as agro-ecological zones(AEZs),total land area,total population,household sizes,agricultural productivity and per capita food consumption.As a result the study recommended minimum acreage for each AEZ within a county that will feed a household of 5 persons on the basis of food security.While an attempt has been made to determine the maximum acreage based on land availability and the population, excemptions will ,however, need to made on individual basis depending on the nature of the commercial agricultural activity proposed.Such an application should be considered and approved at both county and national government levels to provide for agreed principles throughout the country.
INSTITUTION OF SURVEYORS OF KENYA
REPORT OF DESKSTUDY ON MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM LAND HOLDING
ACREAGE IN KENYA
By
Prof. Paul Maurice Syagga, PhD
Dr. Jacinta S. Kimuyu, PhD
A GUIDE TO POLICY MAKERS
March, 2016
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Tables
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.Introduction
The Land Laws (Amendments) Bill 2015 in pursuance of Article 68 (c) of the Constitution of
Kenya needs to present scientifically validated provisions on the minimum and maximum land
holdings. While this may not be panacea for land problems in Kenya, it will in the very least
provide a basis for further debate, particularly with respect to how cultural and gender concerns
will be managed in the context of land availability and food security. The Institution of
Surveyors of Kenya, in the past, made an attempt to provide some guidelines on minimum and
maximum land sizes, but the proposals did not address all pertinent factors. For instance the
ecological zones were not identified, nor were considerations made with respect to the issues of
land productivity and the food consumption required per person.
Realistic decision criteria would require more detailed indicators that focus on robust multi-
criteria analysis. These indicators are based on socio-economic activities, environmental factors
driving land use and land cover, inventory of land utilization types and crop requirements, land
suitability and land productivity evaluation (including forestry and livestock
productivity),estimation of arable areas spatially delineating agro-climatic zones, population
supporting capacity assessment, land use optimization modeling and future projections of climate
impacts on land resource. Modeling scenarios using decision support systems result in cost-
benefit analysis to formulate effective and realistic guidelines.
2.Benchmarking
This report is, however, based on desk study from information available rather than a base line
survey from primary data for all the counties. It has also relied on benchmarking with other
countries from Africa (Egypt, Rwanda), Asia (India, Pakistan, Phillipines) and Latin America
(Brazil, Mexico), where land ceilings have been set in the past. Most discussions on land ceiling
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in these countries have concentrated on the distributional (equity) aspects of the measure, coming
at times when land distribution among the citizenry is much skewed. From the comparisons the
ceilings range from 3.0 hectares to 20.0 hectares, except for West Pakistan where ceilings range
from 60.0 ha to 120.0 ha. In a number of the Asian countries such as West-Pakistan, sometimes,
orchards, seed farms, mechanized farms, etc (commercial agriculture).In all cases the minimum
acreage below which no sub-division is permitted for agricultural land is 1.0 ha. All urban land is
guided by the town planning regulations.
The case is not different in Kenya. Kenya has a total land area covering 576,076 km2. Only 20
per cent of this land is of high and medium potential with adequate and reliable rainfall for arable
agriculture(Agro-ecological Zones I-III). The remaining 80% (Agro-ecological Zones IV-VII)is
either arid or semi-arid land (ASAL) receiving little and erratic rainfall. The bulk (98%) of the
farm holdings in Kenya are small (average 1.2 ha) and lie mainly in the high potential areas and
occupy 46% of total farmed land area (Kamau, 1998).The medium farms of 10-60 ha (average
20.0 ha) occupy 15% of land area, while the large farms averaging 77.8 ha (more than 50%
larger than 200.0 ha) account for only 0.1% of farm holdings but occupy 39% of total land area.
The number of holdings is increasing fast due to the continued sub-division of both small and
large-scale holdings, sometimes to uneconomic units. Some of the large units are also not
efficiently farmed. This has led to poor productivity from the land, thereby resulting in
malnutrition, famine and increased poverty, hence the need for land ceilings.
While the running theme in setting land ceilings arises from the need for distributive justice, it
needs to be noted that ceilings laws should not be implemented as “stand alone” reforms but as a
package of reforms that complement the overall objectives of land use such as sustainability,
efficiency and productivity rather than equity alone.
3.Determination of minimum and maximum land holdings
After a search for available information that can logically inform land ceilings in Kenya, this
report takes into account the following factors:
(a) Number of households and household
(b) Agro-ecological zones (ACZ) adapted from FAO(1996).
(c) Land area for each ecological zone.
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(d) Land productivity per hectare.
(e) Per capita food consumption.
(f) County as an administrative unit is assumed to have similar land tenure, cultural and
customary practice, land use and infrastructure.
Table 4 in the text provides the seven ecological zones and the productive capacity in terms of
kilogrammes of maize per hectare. The food consumption is based on kcalorific value required
per person per year which has been converted to number kilograms of maize required per year.
Based on the average household size of 5 persons (household sizes vary from 3.2 to 5.6 persons
in the 47 counties in Kenya),the household consumption needs is 625 kg of maize per year.
Maize has been used because it is used by 96% of Kenyan population as staple food
supplemented with meat sauce, vegetable sauce or milk. The question then is to determine the
minimum production area for the 625 kg of maize, given the various ecological zones covering
each county. For instance in Mandera with a production capacity of 198 kg/ha, a household
requires a minimum of 3.2 ha. However, when total number of households is considered in
relation to land area available, each household (Table7) could occupy 17.4 ha in zone V. the
mean of land availability and land required for production results in minimum land holding. The
maximum land holding is the summation of all the land available for each of the ACZs in the
county of Mandera is 133.53 hectares (Table12).
4.Recommendations
1. While Table 12 provides the tentative minimum and maximum land holdings for
consideration at the county level, the picture will be more complete if the data was
disaggregated to the ward level. The ceilings should be applicable to the ward as the smallest
administrative unit because there may be variations in ecological zones within a county such
as Kitui, Taita Taveta or Nyeri.
2. If the ceilings are to apply to the whole county, then the dominant ACZ of 70% or above
should determine the minimum land holding, while the maximum remains as provided in
Table 12.It is also recommended that minimum acreage should be 1.0 ha where subdivisions
have not gone below this limit, while encouraging consolidation in other areas as appropriate.
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3. The calculations in Table 12 and subsequent refinements at the ward levels assume static
populations. However, population growth rate in Kenya has been projected to be increasing
rapidly; hence the recommendation that the model should be used to revise the land holding
acreage periodically, say after every population census. In the Philipines, for instance, the
maximum ceilings have been revised from 75.0 ha(1971) to 24.0 ha(1988) and to 10.0
ha(2009).
4. It is strongly recommended that in line with national policy on economic growth and
development, every effort be made to create more off-farm opportunities employment so as
to reduce dependence on subsistence farming. Further efforts should be made to discourage
cultural considerations that lead to subdivisions of land parcels to uneconomic.
5. While the ceilings target to include the landless in property regime, for larger economic
goals it may be necessary to create exemption categories that could be commodity sector
specific, agro-ecological specific, land-use specific or ownership type specific (e.g. large
scale farming, forestry, etc). Commercial Agriculture should be considered on its own merit
in terms of economic benefit to be derived from each type of economic activity in respective
County. Each case should be appraised as an application based on its economic viability
subject to approval by respective approving agencies.
6. The modelling has been done for rural land in Kenya, otherwise, for urban land; the
ceilings should be guided by the zoning regulations under the Physical Planning Act (1996).
7. For the above proposals to work public sensitization is highly recommended on the need
for the land ceilings for the purposes of food security, gender, culture and inter and intra
generation concerns in line with Kenya Constitution and other relevant legislation.
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1. INTRODUCTION
The Land Laws (Amendments) Bill 2015 in pursuance of Article 68 (c) of the Constitution of
Kenya has presented provisions on the Minimum and Maximum land holding. However the
matter has received various comments some of which suggest that the whole idea needs to be
given much more thought. The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, in the past, carried out a
research on Minimum and Maximum land sizes and developed a policy position on the same.
The exercise was meant to guide legislation under the Article 68 (c) of the Constitution and
Section 159 of the Land Act. The research was limited in scope and did not address all pertinent
factors. It did not for instance seek to identify the ecological zones that can be used in
determining the different land sizes, nor did it consider the issues of land productivity and the
food consumption required per person.
Therefore, the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya in conjunction with the National Land
Commission seeks to come up with informed criteria of determining the minimum and maximum
land holding acreages so as to facilitate an updated policy position to be used to inform the
ongoing legislative process and also further future discussion on the matter. Strategic policy
formulation for enacting a legislation to prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages
in respect of private land according to Article 68(c) (i) of the constitution of Kenya would require
more detailed indicators that focus on robust multi-criteria analysis. These indicators are based
on socio-economic activities, environmental factors driving land use land cover, land resource
inventory, inventory of land utilization types and crop requirements including indigenous
systems, land suitability and land productivity evaluation including forestry and livestock
productivity,estimation of arable areas spatially delineating agro-climatic zones, population
supporting capacity assessment, land use optimization modeling and future projections of climate
impacts on land resource. Modeling scenarios using decision support systems result in cost-
benefit analysis to formulate effective and realistic guidelines.
Globally, sustainable agricultural development planning is increasingly being based on agro-
ecological zones. Basically, there exists a problem in that limits to the productive capacity of
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land resources are set by environmental factors like climate, soil types and land forms condition.
The initial focus of the FAO agro-ecological zoning (AEZ) system was to assess the suitability of
different types of land use for selected land uses. In this context, AEZ can be regarded as a set of
applications, leading to an assessment of land suitability and potential productivity in terms of
climate, soil and land forms condition. Such analysis can be used as a basis to inform optimal
land resource for production hence formulate laws that regulate minimum and maximum land
holdings in Kenya. Land Resource Overlay techniques can provide comprehensive analysis of
interrelated factors that determine optimal spatial extent and land resource suitability.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
Further to the legislation and enacted of land laws in Kenya according to Article 68 (c) (i), land
use activities should be planned appropriately so as to optimize production and spatial resource
utilization. Sustainable agricultural development demands for application of systematic effort in
determination of the most economical land holding acreage per household for meaningful land
use. Kenya has varying climatic and ecological extremes with altitude ranging from sea level to
over 5000 m in the highlands. The mean annual rainfall ranges from < 250mm in semi-arid areas
to > 2000mm in high potential areas.
Different land use activities exist in each County in Kenya thus the need for tailored approach in
defining the unique combination of land form, soil and climatic characteristics that form specific
Agro-Ecological Cells. Agro-Ecological Zoning is important as it aims to partition an area of
land into smaller units that have similar characteristics related to land suitability potential
production and environmental impact.Agro-Ecological Zoneis a land resource mapping unit,
having a unique combination of land form, soil and climatic characteristics and/or land cover
having a specific range of potentials and constraints for land use (FAO, 1996).
1.2 Research Objectives
In order to achieve the research goal, the following research objectives were considered
pertinent:
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1. To lay an empirical background to the ongoing efforts to understand the minimum and
maximum land holding acreage.
2. To map out a wider range of the legislative concerns involved in the minimum and
maximum land holding acreage.
3. To examine the extent and range to which other countries have gone about on legislation
related to the matter.
4. To seek public and expert opinion on the subject of maximum and minimum land
holding.
1.3 Research Tasks
In order to achieve the research objectives, the following activities were carried out:
i. User needs assessment was conducted in person or through phone interviews.
ii. Benchmarking of research study with other countries and critique of different approaches.
iii. Demonstration of AEZinKenya Counties.
iv. Defining Zoning criteria for the county.
v. Delineation agro-climatic zones in Kenya based on FAO criteria for zoning.
vi. Use of weighted overlay technique to determine the minimum and maximum land holding
acreage and generate a prototype model for Kenya.
vii. Presentation of research findings in peer review workshop and developing a final model
guide policy formulation.
1.4 The Adopted Approach
The research approach adopted was as follows:
(a) The assignment consisted mainly of desk research, including a combination of limited
personal and/or phone interviews with selected key informants from land sector
institutions in the public private and civil society organizations.
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(b) Desk research was used to lay the background for a scientific study to guide policy on
minimum and maximum land holding and highlight a case of best practice.
(c) Desk research involved the summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research
rather than primary research.
(d) The methodology adopted to accomplish the research objectives was based on Agro-
Ecological Zoning in Kenya as done by FAO (2006).
(e) Demographic data for households per county was adopted from Kenya National Bureau
of Statistics (2015).
(f) Ideally, the county was taken as the basic unit as land use activities are a function of
resource suitability which varies depending on climate, soil and landforms. These could
vary considerably between counties within Kenya.
1.5 Research Deliverables
The adopted research strategy aimed at guiding the policy direction on minimum and
maximum.The above tasks were accomplished during the desktop research with intention to
achieve the following research deliverables:
(a) A proposed rationale for land holdings in setting the maximum and minimum land
acreages in all the counties in Kenya.
(b) A prototype spatial model was generated and tested in Kenya.
2. NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR LAND HOLDING CEILINGS IN KENYA
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Most discussions on land ceiling in parts of the world have concentrated on the distributional
(equity) aspects of the measure, coming at times when land distribution among the citizenry is
much skewed. For instance, in the case of Egypt, the demands for land by the rural households
led to the 1952 revolution. At the time 44% of the rural households were reportedly landless,
while 95% of the rural owners possessed rights to only 35% of the land in small holding against
0.4% who were large farm owners possessing 35% of the rights to the land (Metz, 1990).
Similarly in Rwanda, rural land distribution is skewed with 24% of households controlling 70%
of agricultural land with holdings in excess of 20 hectares. Many of these owners are urban
elites, while 36% of the poor rural households only own 6 % of the total land with parcels
averaging 0.11ha. About 11% of the households are reportedly landless (GOR, 2007).
In India, 71% of Indians live in rural areas. However, distribution of agricultural land remains
uneven. It is reported that 3.5% of all farmers own 38% of all agricultural land, while
approximately 43% of all agrarian households are either absolutely landless or own less than
0.2ha of land (GOI, 2009).
In Brazil, inequality of land distribution, inadequate access to land by the poor and insecure
tenure are contributing factors to land degradation, rural poverty, violence and exploitation of
rural workers(Assuncao, 2006). An estimated 1% of the population owns 45% of all land in
Brazil, and nearly 5 million families out of a population of 193 million people are landless. The
expansion of large-scale soybean and sugar farms is increasing land concentration, displacing
small-scale farmers and others who lack official proof of land ownership. It is in this context that
Brazil embarked on land reform since 1985.
Kenya has a total land area covering 576,076 km2. Only 20 per cent of this land is of high and
medium potential with adequate and reliable rainfall for arable agriculture(Agro-ecological
Zones I-III). The remaining 80% (Agro-ecological Zones IV-VII)is either arid or semi-arid land
(ASAL) receiving little and erratic rainfall.The bulk (98%) of the farm holdings in Kenya are
small (average 1.2 ha) and lie mainly in the high potential areas and occupy 46% of total farmed
land area(Kamau, 1998).The medium farms of 10-60 ha (average 20.0 ha) account for 1.9% of
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the holdings occupy 15% of land area, while the large farms averaging 77.8 ha (more than 50%
larger than 200.0 ha) account for only 0.1% of farm holdings but occupy 39% of total land area.
Nationally, the average farm size is about 2.5 ha.
The number of holdings is increasing fast due to the continued sub-division of both small and
large-scale holdings, sometimes to uneconomic units. Some of the large units are also not
efficiently farmed. This has led to poor productivity from the land, thereby resulting in
malnutrition, famine and increased poverty, hence the need for land ceilings.
While the running theme in setting land ceilings arises from the need for distributive justice,it
needs to be noted that ceilings laws should not be implemented as “stand alone” reforms but as a
package of reforms that complement the overall objectives of land use such as sustainability,
efficiency and productivity rather than equity alone.
Further,successful implementation of land reform requires efficient administration and legislation
that is retroactive and the political will to effectively enforce the law.It may also be necessary to
have limits which are neither too big nor too small.Large land ceilings may reduce the amount of
land available for distribution thus negating the purpose of land reform, while small ceilings may
be uneconomically productive.
2.1 Arguments for and against land ceiling
Discussions with a number of stakeholders in Kenya, however, do not point to a common
consensus on the need to set minimum and maximum land sizes for ownership. Many
stakeholders though indeed point to the fact that there is need to prescribe minimum land
acreage for purposes of avoiding sub-divisions to uneconomic land sizes, thereby safeguarding
concerns for food security. There is evidence from studies elsewhere that fragmented nature of
land holdings may play a major role in explaining low levels of agricultural productivity.
A study by the Australian National University (RaghbendraJha, 2005) on Land Fragmentation
and its Implications for Productivity from Southern India, examined whether technical efficiency
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of farm production is significantly related to farm size, whether yield is importantly impacted by
the degree of fragmentation as measured by the number of plots, average plot size, and an index
of fragmentation, and whether such fragmentation impacts upon labor allocations. The results
show clearly that land fragmentation has a significant adverse effect on land productivity. Farm
size has a positive impact on technical efficiency. What is not clear from the study is the
optimum farm size, the lower and upper limits below which productivity reduces.
Many stakeholders,particularly those already owning large tracts of land are not comfortable
with setting ceilings for maximum land sizes.Others,however,the proponents of setting maximum
land ceiling argue that there is skewed land distribution in Kenya, with a guinea coefficient of
0.77 which calls for setting a maximum acreage one can own.This may be arbitrary as in the case
of Rwanda where the maximum land one can own is 25 hectares. Others argue that setting upper
ceiling should not be arbitrary but determined by productivity and the need for food
security.They make reference,for instance,to Kenya Vision 2030(RoK,2013),that agriculture is
the mainstay of the Kenyan economy and currently represents 24% of the GDP.More than one-
third of Kenya's agricultural produce is exported,and this accounts for 65% of Kenya’s total
exports.It accounts for 18% of total formal employment in the country.It is also demonstrated
that for some crops such as coffee productivity in large estates is greater than in smaller farms by
a factor of 10(RoK,2007).
When all is considered Table 1 below provides a summary of arguments for and against land
ceiling prescriptions.The distributive just, often clothed in populist political undertones, often
however,carries the day in the justification for setting maximum land ceilings.
Table : Considerations for land ceiling
Anti-Land Ceiling Pro Land Ceiling
Land ceiling should be discouraged so as
to allow the enterprising farmers to enlarge
Without land ceilings, the rich people will
rush to buy farm land.
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their holdings by buying or leasing lands
of small farmers.
Although landlessness will increase but
these small farmers could find
employment in agricultural and allied
sector as a result of capitalist mode of
production.
But millions of small and marginal farmers
will be pushed off their land.
Capitalist mode of agriculture produces
more surplus income to be invested back
into the agriculture for further economic
growth.
Increased agricultural exports will increase
foreign exchange incoming and therefore
reduce Current Account deficit.
Capitalist mode of agriculture uses more
machines, and less labour leading to
increased unemployment.
Economic growth will be achieved but at
the cost of unemployment and subsequent
fall in human development.
Evidence suggests that small farms are not
productive because they hinder
mechanised farming
Small farmers have limited capital to
invest in improving productivity.
Large farms tend to prefer monoculture
(single crop), because they can be easily
managed with heavy machinery. However,
they are more susceptible to pest attacks,
not good from soil fertility point of view.
Small farmers usually have mixed crops
(intercropping), they combine and rotate
crops and livestock, with manure so that
soil fertility improves.
Land ceiling and distribution perpetuates
poverty and disguised unemployment
continues.
Some people need to be shifted from
agricultural sector to
manufacturing/service sector. There is no
need to give land to each and every
landless person.
Rural population should be kept self-
employed, even if on small and marginal
farms.
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2.2 Legislative Requirements
Kenya’s first holistic National Land Policy(Sessional Paper N0.3 of 2009 observed that
population growth and the demand for land have resulted in excessive fragmentation of land into
uneconomic units, while at the same time a number of people own large tracts of land which are
not utilized optimally. The policy recommended that there was need to put in place a system to
determine economically viable land sizes for various zones to ensure that the use is economic
and optimal(RoK,2009).
The Kenya Constitution (RoK, 2010) in Article 60(1) set out the principles of land policy which
among other things requires that“land in Kenya shall be held, used and managed in a manner that
is equitable, efficient, productive and sustainable”. It required Parliament (Article 68) to among
other things, revise, consolidate and rationalize existing land laws; and to enact legislation to
prescribe minimum and maximum land holding acreages in respect of private land.
The subsequent Land Act(RoK,2012),under section 159 provides that the Cabinet Secretary
shall within one year from commencement of the Act commission a scientific study to
determine the economic viability of minimum and maximum acreages in respect of private land
for various land zones. The report of the study shall be subjected to public discussion before
tabling in Parliament for debate and adoption. Once adopted, the Cabinet Secretary shall
prescribe rules and regulations in respect of the same, which will guide the Registrar. From the
above it is clear that there is sufficient legal ground for prescribing minimum and maximum
acreages for land holding in Kenya. What remains to be done is to set out methodology or model
to be used in determining the requisite land sizes for various zones. Given the possible variations
within the existing county jurisdictions in Kenya, the zoning could be down scaled to sub-county
and ward levels as appropriate in the registration of any dispositions that confers interest in
respect of private land.
Currently there is the Land Amendment Bill 2015 in Parliament justifying the need and the
principles for the determination of minimum and maximum land ceilings in Kenya.It is response
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to the above then that more than ever before the need for an objective method of determining the
ceilings in Kenya is necessary to facilitate implementation.
3. BENCHMARKING FOR LAND CEILING HOLDINGS
A study by the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (Musyoka and Karanja, 2012) conducted in
three counties in Kenya reported that people supported the need for setting minimum and
maximum land sizes. The study also recommended that a number of factors (land use, land
tenure, demography, social/cultural practices, ecological zones, and infrastructure) should be
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considered in delimiting the prescribed land sizes. However, the study observed that most of the
factors were not easy to operationalize and therefore making it difficult to weight them.
The study therefore relied on perceptions from interviews from the residents of the counties to
recommend that households in Kisii supported a minimum of 1.0acre (0.4 ha) and a maximum of
3 acres (1.2 ha), those in TransNzoia supported 5 acres (2.0 ha) for both minimum and maximum
land holdings, and those in Kajiado supported a minimum of 200 acres (80.0 ha) and a maximum
of 300 acres (120.0 ha). A more appropriate and objective rationale is therefore necessary to
facilitate the delimitations for land holdings. It is for this reason that a number of countries that
have carried the prescriptions for landholding ceilings in Asia, Africa and Latin America are
briefly examined below for comparative analysis.
3.1 Asian Countries
The majority of Asian countries have issued laws fixing the maximum size of land holdings
(Table 2). Other countries in Africa, Latin America and even Europe have also prescribed land
ceilings for both nationals and foreigners. With the ceilings there are exemptions for certain land
uses such as forests or national parks. To prevent an increase in the number of uneconomic
holdings, some countries have fixed minimum size of holdings, it being provided that holdings of
a minimum size should not be further reduced by partition due to inheritance
Table : Land Ceilings in Asian Countries
West Pakistan 60 ha for irrigated or 120 ha for non-irrigated land;
India 3.6 ha varying with the conditions and
between states;
Philippines 75 ha in 1971 lowered to 24 ha in 1988 and to 10 ha in 2009
Indonesia 5-15 ha irrigated land, 6-20 ha upland, varying according
to population density;
Nepal varying with different regions from 2.7 ha to 16.4 ha for
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owner-cultivated holdings,and from 0.5 ha to 2.7 ha for tenanted
land;
Japan 3 ha;
Korea 3 ha;
Taiwan 3 ha (this restriction has been relaxed subsequently).
Source: FrithjofKuhnen(1996)available at htt://www.professor.frithjof.
From the above it does appear that the ceilings range from 3.0 hectares to 20.0 hectares,except
for West Pakistan where ceilings range from 60.0 to 120.0. In a number of the Asian countries
such as West-Pakistan, sometimes, orchards, seed farms, mechanized farms, etc. are exempted
from the ceilings.
In a number of countries, quite often landlords are permitted to redistribute land among their
family members or to organize cooperative farming societies before the application of the
ceilings law. Often landlords can decide what part of their land they want to give as excess, so
that they can choose the least productive land. Consequently excess land available could be
waste land that is unsuitable for distribution.
3.1.1 India
In India land ceiling laws impose ceilings on the amount of land that can be owned by one
person or family and provide a process whereby the state can acquire excess land and redistribute
it to the poor, (GOI, 2009). The ceilings range from 3.6ha to 22.0 hectares, depending on the
state. In some states beneficiaries receive the land free, while in others they make payments
equal to the amount paid by the state to owners. The state, however, pays the owners less than
market value of the land. Beneficiaries are prohibited from selling the land.
Since 1972, India revised the land ceiling guidelines,although actual ceilings vary from one state
to another (Table 3).The guidelines are based on the following principles;
(a) The best lands in a state with assured irrigation for two crops in a year should have
ceiling in the range of 10 to 18 acres(4.0-7.2 ha), taking into account the fertility of the
soil and other conditions.
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(b) In case of inferior lands, ceiling may be higher but should not exceed 54 acres(22.0 ha).
(c) The unit of application shall be family of five members, the term family being defined as
to include husband, wife and three minor children. Where the number of members in the
family exceeds five, additional land may be allowed for each member in excess of five in
such a manner that the total area admissible to the family does not exceed twice the
ceiling limit for family of five members.
(d) The ceiling should not operate on land held under tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and
cocoa.
(e) Ceiling should not operate on land held by industrial or commercial undertakings for
non-agricultural purposes.
(f) State Governments may, in their discretion, grant exemption to the existing religious,
charitable and educational trusts of Public nature.
(g) In the distribution of surplus land, priority should be given to landless agricultural
workers, particularly to those belonging to the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes.
(h) Compensation payable for the surplus land on imposition of ceiling laws should be fixed
well below the market value of the property so that it is within the capacity of the new
allottees.
(i) The compensation may be fixed in graded slabs and preferably in multiples of land
revenue payable for the land.
A suggestion by the Government under the Land Ceiling Act of 2013 to revise land ceilings
downwards was rejected by state governments. It was proposed to put a ceiling on agricultural
land up to 5 to 10 acres, if irrigation facility is available, and up to 10-15 acres, if it is rain-fed.
For instance, the State of AdhraPradeh observed that farmers are empowered to hold a maximum
of 54 acres in the state depending on various factors. These factors will vary from district to
district. Further reduction on ceiling on agricultural lands will make land holding smaller. The
small land holdings are not viable for farmers. The state government took up a massive farm-
mechanization programme. Mechanization is not possible if the land holdings are too small.
Even with the ceiling of 54 acres, the state government is planning to encourage farmers for
cooperative farming to make agriculture profitable.
Table : Ceiling Limits on Land Holdings (Ha) in India
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Ceiling Limits Irrigated
with
two crops
Irrigated
with
one crop
Dry land
Guide-lines of 1972
Proposals of 2013
4.05 to 7.28
2.0- 4.0
10.93
4.0-6.0
21.85
21.85
Actual Ceilings by State
Andhra Pradesh 4.05 to 7.28 06.07 to 10.93 14.16 to 21.85
Assam 6.74 06.74 6.74
Bihar 6.07 to 7.28 10.12 12.14 to 18.21
Gujarat 4.05 to 7.29 06.07 to 10.93 08.09 to 21.85
Haryana 7.25 10.90 21.80
Himachal Pradesh 4.05 06.07 12.14 to 28.33
Jammu and Kashmir 3.60 to 5.06 03.6 to 5.06 5.95 to 9.20
Karnataka 4.05 to 8.10 10.12 to 12.14 21.85
Kerala 4.86 to 6.07 04.86 to 6.07 04.86 to 6.07
Madhya Pradesh 7.28 10.93 21.85
Maharashtra 7.28 10.93 21.85
Manipur 5.00 05.00 06.00
Orrisa 4.05 06.07 12.14 to 18.21
Punjab 7.00 11.00 20.50
Rajasthan 7.28 10.93 21.85 to 70.82
Tamil Nadu 4.86 12.14 24.28
Sikkim 5.06 - 20.23
Tripura 4.00 04.00 12.00
Uttar Pradesh 7.30 10.95 18.25
West Bengal 5.00 05.00 07.00
3.1.2 The Phillipines
The law in Philipines (Republic Act No 9700 of 1988 as Amended in August 2009) provides that
beneficiaries under the land redistribution programme shall be awarded an area not exceeding
three (3) hectares, which may cover a contiguous tract of land or several parcels of land
cumulated up to the prescribed award limits. The determination of the size of the land for
distribution shall consider crop type, soil type, weather patterns and other pertinent variables or
factors which are deemed critical for the success of the beneficiaries. The intended beneficiary
shall state under oath before the judge of the city or municipal court that he/she is willing to
work on the land to make it productive and to assume the obligation of paying the amortization
19 | P a g e
for the compensation of the land and the land taxes thereon; all lands foreclosed by government
financial institutions; all lands acquired by the Presidential Commission on Good Government
(PCGG); and all other lands owned by the government devoted to or suitable for agriculture,
which shall be acquired and distributed.
The land for distribution will be derived from all private agricultural lands of landowners with
aggregate landholdings in excess of ten (10) hectares ; all idle or abandoned lands; all private
lands voluntarily offered by the owners for agrarian reform. The schedule of acquisition and
redistribution of all agricultural lands covered by this program shall be made taking into
consideration the following: the landholdings wherein the farmers are organized and understand,
the meaning and obligations of farmland ownership; the distribution of lands to the tillers at the
earliest practicable time; the enhancement of agricultural productivity; and the availability of
funds and resources to implement and support the program. However the program shall design
and conduct seminars, symposia, information campaigns, and other similar programs for farmers
who are not organized or not covered by any landholdings.
3.2 Africa
In many African countries land was either communal or belonged to the state. Therefore the state
or the community decided on how much land to allow the individual to use. Where land,
however is privately owned as has been the case in Kenya, Egypt and few other countries, the
question of land concentration then becomes paramount, particularly as a major source of
livelihood for majority citizens. A few examples of where land ceilings have been put in place
include Rwanda and Egypt. Other countries such as South Africa and Kenya are working
towards the realization of the same.
3.2.1 Rwanda
In Rwanda land legislation and agricultural sector policy supports the consolidation of land.
Agricultural plots cannot be reduced in size to less than 1.0ha, and parcels held by a single land
holder must be must be consolidated under one title in the registration process.Excess land above
20 | P a g e
25 hectares was distributed in parcels of 2.0 ha to beneficiaries.Crop Intensification Program
requires consolidated land and communities wishing to participate must voluntarily agree to land
consolidation and resettlement (GOR, 2005).
The law also governs inheritance and requires that children have the right to inherit their parent’s
property equally and without regard to gender. If land cannot be partitioned because it will
violate the 1 hectare minimal holding, an heir can be compensated with the monetary value of
the land share.
3.2.2 Egypt
During the agrarian reforms in Egypt between 1952 and 1970 the government redistributed land
by setting a maximum of 20.0 ha and minimum of 1.0 ha and expropriating land above the
maximum ceiling for redistribution. Contrary to what happens in many countries the state
managed to seize property in excess of the limit for distribution to families for plots of 2.0
hectares. Land in excess of 300,000 ha was distributed to 150,000 families, and the program was
lauded a success, (Raymond, 2015).
However, because not every landless person received land, the program protected tenants on
private land through rent control and ensuring that arbitrary evictions did not take place.The
second phase of reform in the 1980s was not merely about land redistribution, but more about
employment generation and provision of alternative sustainable livelihoods. Under the Mubarak
Graduates Project in the 1980s the government aimed to reclaim desert land through offering
small amounts of land (2.1-4.2 ha) in the form of long-term lease, at a cost of providing irrigation
to recent university graduates, most of whom studied agriculture. It is reported that this project
has been responsible for 25% of the land reclaimed since 1988 (Madbuoly, 2005).
21 | P a g e
3.3 Latin America
Many countries in Latin America including Brazil, Mexico and Chile have embraced land reform
at various times in their ideological economic reforms. At times they have consolidated land
parcels in the hands of the state and co-operatives, and at times they have redistributed land to
small holders as political regimes change office. Overall, however, land redistribution and tenure
security have remained issues of progressive realization.
3.3.1 Brazil
Before 2010, foreigners could acquire land without restriction, but since then, a limit of 5,000
hectares (12,500 acres) is the maximum land that a foreigner or Brazilian-subsidiaries of foreign
companies can purchase. The Constitution allows purchase of idle or underutilized land in the
public interest or for redistribution to the landless with compensation to the land owner. There is
also market-assisted land reform that provides subsidized loans to the landless to purchase farms
in groups.Apart from these land ceilings, frontier areas a strip of 50 km inside the national
borders of Brazil – are "no go" zones, off limits to private investors wishing to acquire land, for
national security purposes.
3.3.2 Mexico
According to 1971 reform law,a ceiling for cattle ranches was calculated according to the land
that could support 500 heads of cattle or an equivalent number of livestock.A ceiling was set at
800 hectares for ranches in areas of poor quality pasture(De Janvry, 1997). Though specifically
not defined, one assumes that the acreage limit was based on the carrying capacity of the land to
provide feeing for dairy or beef cattle.Carrying capacity refers to the area of natural pasture an
animal can graze on throughout the year and from year to year without exhausting
it(Syagga,1994).It can be increased if a farmer improves the land and plants,for instance exotic
grass, in which case the value of the land appreciates to the level of land with better pasture.
Altitude and rainfall are the main determinants of carrying capacity and the quality of the
pasture.
22 | P a g e
3.4 Considerations for Land Ceilings in Kenya
The story of setting land ceilings has mixed fortunes depending on the institutional arrangements
and the political will to undertake the implementation. A number of countries particularly in
Latin America set the ceilings on ideological basis of land redistribution to the tillers who were
largely tenants without accompanying structures for improving productivity. As a result some
beneficiaries became poorer,sold their parcels and moved to look for work in the urban areas.
In other countries the land ceilings were set up and accompanied with tenure security and
agricultural improvement programmeas exemplified by a number of cases in Asia(Indian states)
and Egypt in Africa.Land ceilings should aim at wealth creation for a greater majority than being
merely a populist side show by the Government.
Ideally the parcels should not be so large as to release very little land for redistribution,nor
should they be so small as to make farming productivity uneconomic.From examination of
available data,most countries have set the floor ceiling at 1.0 hectare below which sub-division is
not allowed even during inheritance.The upper ceilings have ranged between 3.0 hectares(7.5
acres) and 20 hectares(50 acres) with respect to crop production, while ranch lands have been
based on carrying capacity for given heads of cattle to support a family unit.
However, the criterion used as in the case of India has not been clear as to whether food
consumption requirements have been considered. Ideally, given the amount of food required by
each household, one can determine the acreage required to feed such a family, depending on
productivity of the land.
3.4.1 Food and Livestock Production
In Kenya, while the rural households produce 70% of their maize and purchase 30% from
elsewhere, 98% of maize consumed by urban households is purchased (AAFT&KARI, 2010).
80% of maize is produced by small scale farmers on 0.2ha to 3.0 ha of land. It is grown in many
Kenyan agro ecological zones with varying productivity per zone (Table 4). Similarly for
23 | P a g e
livestock production in Kenya, carrying capacity is defined in terms of cow or beef area. Molo is
rated highest with carrying capacity of 1 cow area (1 cow on 3 acres of land), UasinGhishu and
Transnzoia with 4 cow area and Athi River and Naivasha with 15 cow area(Syagga,1994). An
interview with a number of residents of the counties of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui which
largely fall in the ACZ IV-VI confirmed that many farmers are currently keeping herds of 20
animals on 50 acres(20.0 ha) of land, giving a carrying capacity of 1.0ha(2.5 acres),provided
they have sunk bore holes for watering the animals. Without water they would certainly need
more land.
3.4.2 Per Capita Food Production
In Kenya, maize is the staple food for 96% of the population and provides 40% of total calorie
requirement. While the rural households produce 70% of their maize and purchase 30% from
elsewhere, 98% of maize consumed by urban households is purchased (AAFT&KARI, 2010).
80% of maize is produced by small scale farmers on 0.2ha to 3.0 ha of land.The national per
capita consumption of maize in Kenya is 125kg.
For purposes of this report the land ceilings in Kenya will be based on the following
considerations:
(g) number of households and household size.
(h) agro-ecological zones. The seven agro-climatic zones in Kenya are each sub-divided to
identify areas suitable for growing each of Kenya`s major food and cash crops.
(i) land area for each ecological zone.
(j) land productivity.
(k) per capita maize consumption.
(l) county as an administrative unit is assumed to have similar land tenure, cultural and
customary practice, land use and infrastructure, except when land ceilings are
disaggregated further to the ward levels.
24 | P a g e
4. Computation of Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreages for Counties
in Kenya
4.1 Methodology and data analysis
The study used computed ACZ data for the whole country as adopted from FAO (1996) agro
ecological zones for Kenya (Figure 1).
25 | P a g e
Figure : The agro-climatic zones of Kenya (source: Kenya Soil Survey)
The different zones existing in Kenya are as shown in Table 4:
Table :Country Agro-Climatic Zones and Maize Productivity (Adopted from FAO, 2006)
Agro-
Climatic
Zone
(ACZ)
Classification MoistureZone
(%)
Annual
Rainfall
(mm)
Maize
production
90kg
bags/ha
Maize
production
Kg/ha
Per capita
consumption
in kg
26 | P a g e
I Humid >80 1100 – 2 700 20.5
1593
II Sub-Humid 65 – 80 1000 – 1 600 18.5
125
III Semi-Humid 50 – 65 800 – 1 400 14.1
IV Semi-Humid to
Semi-Arid
40 – 50 600 – 1 100 8.4 756
V Semi-Arid 25 – 40 450 – 900 6.7 603
VI Arid 15 – 25 300 – 550
2.2 198
VII Very Arid <15 150 – 350
4.1.1 Procedure for area computation
The following steps were followed:
(a) The percentages land areas for each zone in different counties was used as a field in
the attribute table for use in ArcGIS area analysis.
(b) The total areas in square kilometers, hectares and acres for each county were
calculated using geographic coordinates based on the IEBC Kenya Counties
Map(Table 5).
(c) Total areas for each ACZ per county were computed as a function of the total county
area and divided by the total number of households to get the parcel per household.
The formula used to compute the county areas was:
Land Holding (Ha) per household = Total County Area * %ACZj/ Total County
Households; where j= zones I-III, IV, V, VI-VII.
(d) Household data was adopted from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (Statistical
Abstract 2015).
(e) A table was generated for the different percentages of each zone in every county
(Table 6).
(f) The total computed areas for each county for the different ACZ (zone I-III,IV,V and
VI – VII combined) as shown in Table 7.
Table : Table showing computed areas and number of households per county
COUNTY AREA(sqkm) AREA(Ha) AREA(Acre) Household
27 | P a g e
Nairobi 708.049 70804.9 174963 985016
Mombasa 285.644 28564.4 70584.2 268700
Vihiga 563.019 56301.9 139125 123347
Kisii 1321.12 132112 326456 245029
Nyamira 900.957 90095.7 222631 131039
Kakamega 3022.58 302258 746897 355679
Bungoma 3031.79 303179 749171 270824
Trans Nzoia 2495.57 249557 616669 170117
UasinGishu 3407.69 340769 842059 202291
Nandi 2846.23 284623 703320 154073
Bomet 2703.69 270369 668097 142361
Busia 1823.56 182356 450611 154225
Murang'a 2526.51 252651 624315 255696
Nyandarua 3270.35 327035 808122 143871
Siaya 3542.17 354217 875290 199034
Kirinyaga 1475.31 147531 364557 154220
Kericho 2267.9 226790 560411 160134
Nyeri 3336.25 333625 824405 201703
Kiambu 2544.74 254474 628819 469244
Nakuru 7489.23 748923 1850630 409836
Migori 3164.59 316459 781987 180211
Kisumu 2676.95 267695 661488 226719
Elgeyo-
Marakwet
3018.06 301807 745780 77555
Homa Bay 3759.68 375968 929038 206255
Meru 6990.41 699041 1727370 319616
Embu 2823.16 282316 697619 131683
Tharaka-Nithi 2580.09 258009 637553 88803
Machakos 6044.07 604407 1493520 264500
Narok 17942.1 1794210 4433590 169220
Makueni 8172.38 817238 2019440 186478
Kilifi 12523.9 1252390 3094730 199764
West Pokot 9338.15 933815 2307510 93777
Kwale 8263.81 826381 2042030 122047
Baringo 10912 1091200 2696420 110649
Laikipia 9543.91 954391 2358350 103114
Kajiado 21898 2189800 5411110 173464
TaitaTaveta 17118.2 1711820 4230010 71090
Lamu 6185.09 618509 1528370 22184
Tana River 39153.8 3915380 9675100 47414
Samburu 21023.9 2102390 5195110 47354
Kitui 30436.6 3043660 7521060 205491
Mandera 25982.8 2598280 6420490 125497
28 | P a g e
Garissa 43591.2 4359120 10771600 98590
Turkana 70357.9 7035790 17385800 123191
Isiolo 25381.9 2538190 6272000 31326
Wajir 56649.1 5664910 13998300 88574
Marsabit 76030.7 7603070 18787600 56941
Table : Relative percentage ACZ area covearge per county
COUNTY ACZ I-III(%) ACZ IV(%) ACZ V(%) ACZ VI_VII
(%)
Nairobi 0 0 0 0
Mombasa 0 0 0 0
Vihiga 100 0 0 0
Kisii 100 0 0 0
Nyamira 100 0 0 0
Kakamega 100 0 0 0
Bungoma 100 0 0 0
Trans Nzoia 100 0 0 0
UasinGishu 100 0 0 0
Nandi 100 0 0 0
Bomet 100 0 0 0
Busia 94 6 0 0
Murang'a 89 11 0 0
Nyandarua 89 11 0 0
Siaya 76 24 0 0
Kirinyaga 83 16 1 0
Kericho 97 0 3 0
Nyeri 75 22 3 0
Kiambu 73 17 10 0
Nakuru 64 16 20 0
Migori 70 8 22 0
Kisumu 60 0 40 0
Elgeyo-Marakwet 69 17 14 0
Homa Bay 48 16 36 0
Meru 52 12 36 0
Embu 33 29 38 0
Tharaka-Nithi 34 34 32 0
Machakos 4 15 81 0
Narok 46 34 20 0
Makueni 5 20 75 0
29 | P a g e
Kilifi 5 23 68 0
West Pokot 24 33 44 0
Kwale 17 13 71 0
Baringo 20 15 49 0
Laikipia 8 13 80 0
Kajiado 1 6 93 0
TaitaTaveta 1 2 80 17
Lamu 0 23 77 0
Tana River 0 3 33 64
Samburu 20 9 71 0
Kitui 1 4 90 5
Mandera 0 0 6 94
Garissa 0 0 41 59
Turkana 0 0 34 66
Isiolo 0 0 29 71
Wajir 0 0 2 98
Marsabit 0 0 13 87
Table : Computed land holding acreage per household for different ACZ in each county
COUNTY Ha/Household ACZ I-
III
Ha/Household ACZ
IV
Ha/Household
ACZ V
Ha/Household
ACZ VI-VII
Nairobi 0 0 0 0
Mombasa 0 0 0 0
Vihiga 0.456451299 0 0 0
Kisii 0.539168833 0 0 0
Nyamira 0.687548769 0 0 0
Kakamega 0.849805583 0 0 0
Bungoma 1.119468732 0 0 0
Trans Nzoia 1.466972731 0 0 0
UasinGishu 1.684548497 0 0 0
Nandi 1.847325618 0 0 0
Bomet 1.899178848 0 0 0
Busia 1.111458194 0.07094414 0 0
Murang'a 0.879401281 0.108690046 0 0
Nyandarua 2.02307032 0.250042399 0 0
Siaya 1.352557453 0.427123406 0 0
30 | P a g e
Kirinyaga 0.794000324 0.153060303 0.009566269 0
Kericho 1.373763848 0 0.042487542 0
Nyeri 1.240530632 0.363888985 0.049621225 0
Kiambu 0.395883634 0.092192079 0.054230635 0
Nakuru 1.169518344 0.292379586 0.365474482 0
Migori 1.229232955 0.140483766 0.386330357 0
Kisumu 0.708440845 0 0.472293897 0
Elgeyo-Marakwet 2.68515028 0.661558765 0.5448131 0
Homa Bay 0.874958862 0.291652954 0.656219146 0
Meru 1.137306393 0.262455321 0.787365964 0
Embu 0.707489046 0.621732798 0.814684356 0
Tharaka-Nithi 0.987838924 0.987838924 0.929730752 0
Machakos 0.091403705 0.342763894 1.850925028 0
Narok 4.877299374 3.604960407 2.120564945 0
Makueni 0.219124508 0.876498032 3.28686762 0
Kilifi 0.313467392 1.441950001 4.263156525 0
West Pokot 2.389878115 3.286082408 4.381443211 0
Kwale 1.151071063 0.880230813 4.807414439 0
Baringo 1.972363058 1.479272293 4.832289492 0
Laikipia 0.74045503 1.203239424 7.404550304 0
Kajiado 0.12623945 0.757436702 11.74026887 0
Lamu 0 6.412597818 21.46826226 0
Samburu 8.87946108 3.995757486 31.52208684 0
Kitui 0.148116463 0.59246585 13.33048163 0.740582
TaitaTaveta 0.240796174 0.481592348 19.26369391 4.093
535
Mandera 0 0 1.242235273 19.46169
Garissa 0 0 18.12799675 26.08663
Turkana 0 0 19.41837147 37.69449
Tana River 0 2.477356899 27.25092589 52.8502
8
Isiolo 0 0 23.49725787 57.52777
Wajir 0 0 1.27913609 62.67767
Marsabit 0 0 17.35830245 116.1671
4.1.2 Procedure for spatial model generation and visualization
The following steps were followed in the study:
(a) The Kenya County polygon data was converted to raster format to show the
distribution of the different ACZ categories.
31 | P a g e
(b) For each agro climatic zone, areas were extracted for each land household holding in
each county and classified withacreage in different defined ranges shown in different
colours. Table 8 to 11 has summarized the computed areas.
(c) The produced maps show ACZ coverage (Figure 2 to 5) in each county, with the
county with minimum and maximum land parcel for that particular zone coverage
highlighted.
Table : Extracted Counties with land holding in agro climatic zone I-III
COUNTY AREA (Ha) Household ACZ I – III
(%)
Land holding
(Ha)/Household
Machakos 604407 264500 4 0.091403705
Kajiado 2189800 173464 1 0.12623945
Kitui 3043660 205491 1 0.148116463
Makueni 817238 186478 5 0.219124508
TaitaTaveta 1711820 71090 1 0.240796174
Kilifi 1252390 199764 5 0.313467392
Kiambu 254474 469244 73 0.395883634
Vihiga 56301.9 123347 100 0.456451299
Kisii 132112 245029 100 0.539168833
Nyamira 90095.7 131039 100 0.687548769
Embu 282316 131683 33 0.707489046
Kisumu 267695 226719 60 0.708440845
Laikipia 954391 103114 8 0.74045503
Kirinyaga 147531 154220 83 0.794000324
Kakamega 302258 355679 100 0.849805583
Homa Bay 375968 206255 48 0.874958862
Murang'a 252651 255696 89 0.879401281
Tharaka-Nithi 258009 88803 34 0.987838924
Busia 182356 154225 94 1.111458194
Bungoma 303179 270824 100 1.119468732
Meru 699041 319616 52 1.137306393
Kwale 826381 122047 17 1.151071063
Nakuru 748923 409836 64 1.169518344
Migori 316459 180211 70 1.229232955
Nyeri 333625 201703 75 1.240530632
Siaya 354217 199034 76 1.352557453
32 | P a g e
Kericho 226790 160134 97 1.373763848
Trans Nzoia 249557 170117 100 1.466972731
UasinGishu 340769 202291 100 1.684548497
Nandi 284623 154073 100 1.847325618
Bomet 270369 142361 100 1.899178848
Baringo 1091200 110649 20 1.972363058
Nyandarua 327035 143871 89 2.02307032
West Pokot 933815 93777 24 2.389878115
aElgeyo-
Marakwet
301807 77555 69 2.68515028
Narok 1794210 169220 46 4.877299374
Samburu 2102390 47354 20 8.87946108
33 | P a g e
Wajir
Marsabit
Turkana
Kitui
Garissa
Isiolo
Tana River
Kilifi
Narok
Mandera
Kajiado
Samburu
Taita Taveta
Baringo
Meru
Kwale
Laikipia
Lamu
Nakuru
Makueni
West Pokot
Nyeri
Siaya
Machakos
Migori
Nandi
Embu
Kisumu
Kisii Bomet
Homa Bay
Kiambu
Busia
Bungoma
Kericho Nyandarua
Kakamega
Uasin Gishu
Murang'a
Trans Nzoia
Tharaka-Nithi
Elgeyo-Marakwet
Kirinyaga
Nyamira
Nairobi
Vihiga
Mombasa
Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreage (Ha) Per
Household In ACZ I_III Counties in Kenya
Legend
Counties
Kenya Zone I_III Counties
<VALUE>
0
0 - 0.091404
0.091404 - 2.681249032
2.681249033 - 4.87499824
4.874998241 - 8.87946108
Machakos Minimum Parcel
Samburu Maximum Parcel
¯
1:5,500,000
Scale:
Produced by Dr. J.S. Kimuyu
Figure : Land Holding Acreage (Ha) per Household for counties in ACZ I-III
Table : Extracted Counties with land holding in agro climatic zone IV
34 | P a g e
COUNTY AREA (Ha) Household ACZ IV(%) Land holding
(Ha)/Household
Busia 182356 154225 6 0.07094414
Kiambu 254474 469244 17 0.092192079
Murang'a 252651 255696 11 0.108690046
Migori 316459 180211 8 0.140483766
Kirinyaga 147531 154220 16 0.153060303
Nyandarua 327035 143871 11 0.250042399
Meru 699041 319616 12 0.262455321
Homa Bay 375968 206255 16 0.291652954
Nakuru 748923 409836 16 0.292379586
Machakos 604407 264500 15 0.342763894
Nyeri 333625 201703 22 0.363888985
Siaya 354217 199034 24 0.427123406
TaitaTaveta 1711820 71090 2 0.481592348
Kitui 3043660 205491 4 0.59246585
Embu 282316 131683 29 0.621732798
Elgeyo-
Marakwet
301807 77555 17 0.661558765
Kajiado 2189800 173464 6 0.757436702
Makueni 817238 186478 20 0.876498032
Kwale 826381 122047 13 0.880230813
Tharaka-Nithi 258009 88803 34 0.987838924
Laikipia 954391 103114 13 1.203239424
Kilifi 1252390 199764 23 1.441950001
Baringo 1091200 110649 15 1.479272293
Tana River 3915380 47414 3 2.477356899
West Pokot 933815 93777 33 3.286082408
Narok 1794210 169220 34 3.604960407
Samburu 2102390 47354 9 3.995757486
Lamu 618509 22184 23 6.412597818
35 | P a g e
Wajir
Marsabit
Turkana
Kitui
Garissa
Isiolo
Tana River
Kilifi
Narok
Mandera
Kajiado
Samburu
Taita Ta veta
Baringo
Meru
Kwale
Laikipia
Lamu
Nakuru
Makueni
West Pokot
Nyeri
Siaya
Machakos
Migori
Nandi
Embu
Kisumu
Kisii Bomet
Homa Bay
Kiambu
Busia
Bungoma
Kericho Nyandarua
Kakamega
Uasin Gishu
Murang'a
Trans Nzoia
Tharaka-Nithi
Elgeyo-Marakwet
Kirinyaga
Nyamira
Nairobi
Vihiga
Mombasa
Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreage (Ha) Per
Household In ACZ IV Counties in Kenya
¯
1:5,500,000
Scale:
Produced by Dr. J.S. Kimuyu
Legend
Kenya Counties
Kenya Zone IV Counties
<VALUE>
0
0 - 1.483699103
1.483699104 - 3.294314958
3.294314959 - 6.412597818
Busia Minimum Pa rcel
Lamu Maximum Pa rcel
Figure : Land Holding Acreage (Ha) per Household for counties in ACZ IV
Table : Extracted Counties with land holding in agro climatic zone V
COUNTY AREA (Ha) Household ACZ V(%) Land holding (Ha)/Household
Kirinyaga 147531 154220 1 0.009566
Kericho 226790 160134 3 0.042488
Nyeri 333625 201703 3 0.049621
Kiambu 254474 469244 10 0.054231
Nakuru 748923 409836 20 0.365474
36 | P a g e
Migori 316459 180211 22 0.38633
Kisumu 267695 226719 40 0.472294
Elgeyo-Marakwet 301807 77555 14 0.544813
Homa Bay 375968 206255 36 0.656219
Meru 699041 319616 36 0.787366
Embu 282316 131683 38 0.814684
Tharaka-Nithi 258009 88803 32 0.929731
Mandera 2598280 125497 6 1.242235
Wajir 5664910 88574 2 1.279136
Machakos 604407 264500 81 1.850925
Narok 1794210 169220 20 2.120565
Makueni 817238 186478 75 3.286868
Kilifi 1252390 199764 68 4.263157
West Pokot 933815 93777 44 4.381443
Kwale 826381 122047 71 4.807414
Baringo 1091200 110649 49 4.832289
Laikipia 954391 103114 80 7.40455
Kajiado 2189800 173464 93 11.74027
Kitui 3043660 205491 90 13.33048
Marsabit 7603070 56941 13 17.3583
Garissa 4359120 98590 41 18.128
TaitaTaveta 1711820 71090 80 19.26369
Turkana 7035790 123191 34 19.41837
Lamu 618509 22184 77 21.46826
Isiolo 2538190 31326 29 23.49726
Tana River 3915380 47414 33 27.25093
Samburu 2102390 47354 71 31.52209
37 | P a g e
Wajir
Marsabit
Turkana
Kitui
Garissa
Isiolo
Tana River
Kilifi
Narok
Mandera
Kajiado
Samburu
Taita Ta veta
Baringo
Meru
Kwale
Laikipia
Lamu
Nakuru
Makueni
West Pokot
Nyeri
Siaya
Machakos
Migori
Nandi
Embu
Kisumu
Kisii Bomet
Homa Bay
Kiambu
Busia
Bungoma
Kericho Nyandarua
Kakamega
Uasin Gishu
Murang'a
Trans Nzoia
Tharaka-Nithi
Elgeyo-Marakwet
Kirinyaga
Nyamira
Nairobi
Vihiga
Mombasa
Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreage (Ha) Per
Household In ACZ V Counties in Kenya
¯
1:5,500,000
Scale:
Produced by Dr. J.S. Kimuyu
Legend
Counties
<VALUE>
0
0 - 0.009566
0.009567 - 18.9132521
18.91325211 - 25.21766947
25.21766948 - 31.52208687
Samburu Maximum Parce l
Kirinyaga Minimum Parcel
Kenya Zone V Counties
Figure : Land Holding Acreage (Ha) per Household for counties in ACZ V
Table : Extracted Counties with land holding in agro climatic zone VI-VII
COUNTY AREA (Ha) Household ACZ
VI_VII(%)
Land holding
(Ha)/Household
Kitui 3043660 205491 5 0.740582
TaitaTaveta 1711820 71090 17 4.093535
Mandera 2598280 125497 94 19.46169
Garissa 4359120 98590 59 26.08663
Turkana 7035790 123191 66 37.69449
38 | P a g e
Tana River 3915380 47414 64 52.8502
8
Isiolo 2538190 31326 71 57.52777
Wajir 5664910 88574 98 62.67767
Marsabit 7603070 56941 87 116.1671
39 | P a g e
Wajir
Marsabit
Turkana
Kitui
Garissa
Isiolo
Tana River
Kilifi
Narok
Mandera
Kajiado
Samburu
Taita Taveta
Baringo
Meru
Kwale
Laikipia
Lamu
Nakuru
Makueni
West Pokot
Nyeri
Siaya
Machakos
Migori
Nandi
Embu
Kisumu
Kisii Bomet
Homa Bay
Kiambu
Busia
Bungoma
Kericho Nyandarua
Kakamega
Uasin Gishu
Murang'a
Trans Nzoia
Tharaka-Nithi
Elgeyo-Marakwet
Kirinyaga
Nyamira
Nairobi
Vihiga
Mombasa
Minimum and Maximum Land Holding Acreage (Ha) Per
Household In ACZ VI_VII Counties in Kenya
¯
1:5,500,000
Scale:
Produced by: Dr. J.S. Kimuyu
Legend
Marsabit Maximum Parcel
Kitui Minimum Parcel
Kenya Zone VI-VII Counties
<VALUE>
Kenya Counties
0 value counties
Counties between 0 - 39
Countiees between 39 - 53
Counties between 53 - 117
Figure : Land Holding Acreage (Ha) per Household for counties in ACZ VI-VII
40 | P a g e
4.2 Model for minimum and Maximum Land Holdings
For purposes of developing land ceilings in Kenya, this research has grouped the agro climatic
zones in Table 4 into four categories as shown in consideration (ACZ I-III, ACZ IV, ACZ V, and
ACZ VI-VII). For each particular zone the total land parcel available (Pavl) per household in each
county was computed and summarized as shown in Tables 7 above. The assumption taken in this
study is that for equitable distribution of land, each household should be considered for land
allocation in every ACZ. The land parcel required (Preq) to feed each household of 5 persons at
average was computed using the national per capita consumption of 125 kg and land productivity
in kg/ha for each ACZ (see Table 4). The computed Preqvalues for each ACZ are 0.39 ha for ACZ
I-III, 0.83 ha for ACZ IV, 1.04 ha for ACZ V and 3.16 ha for ACZ VI-VII.
The computed MINIMUM land parcel (PMIN) in each ACZ per household is defined by the
average of Pavl and Preqland holding per household in that particular ACZ. Therefore, the
MAXIMUM land holding per household will be the total land available in the entire county
divided by the total number of households to get the holding acreage per household from each
ACZ. Table 12 below gives the summary of computed land available (Pavl), (PMIN) land per
household for each ACZ herein taken as the minimum parcel for land holding acreage, and
(PMAX) being the maximum parcel for land holding acreage in Kenya. The formula derived to
compute the minimum and maximum land holding per household in each county is as follows:
2/
jreqjavlMIN ACZPACZPP +=
Where;PMIN= Minimum parcel per household
PMAX=Maximun parcel per household
ACZj=Agro climatic zones I-III, IV, V, VI-VII
Pavl=Total land available per household in ha
Preq=Total land required to feed household per annum
41 | P a g e
5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Conclusions
Besides the 29% of Kenyans who are reportedly landless, the land distribution among those who
already own land in Kenya is skewed in favour of the 0.1% farm holdings with an average of
77.8 hectares occupying 39% of farmed land area. This provides a guineaindex of 0.77 in
relation to the 98% of owners with holdings averaging 1.2 hectares and occupying 46% of the
farmed land area. Furthermore there are continuous sub-divisions even in the small farms
reducing them to uneconomic units even for subsistence agriculture.
It should be accepted that Kenya’s land area is fixed so that even with irrigation, land area for
farming will still remain limited, and therefore for purposes of food security and sustainability
there is need for limiting how much land should be owned by a family unit. Our research has
shown that for the counties with 100% high potential arable land (ACZ I-III) the land sizes in
relation to the county populations and household numbers are relatively small ranging from 0.46
ha in Vihiga County to 1.9 hectares in Bomet. Ironically, however, a county such as Samburu
with only 20% of its land falling within ACZ I-III can afford to provide each household with 8.9
hectares of high potential arable land due to its small population.
In order to obtain maximum land available for each household the total of all land available in
each county was divided by the total households in the county. Therefore counties with
predominantly one ACZ will have the same acreage for both land available for each household
andthe maximum holding acreage. Overall, there are seven counties with less than 1.0 hectare for
maximum ceilings and ten counties(mainly in the ASALs) with ceilings in more than 20.0
hectares(Table 13).
In order to determine minimum land sizes for each zone in each county, it is necessary to weigh
the productivity against land availability. Where land available per household is less than land
required to feed the household, then land subdivision should not be done beyond the computed
44 | P a g e
minimum parcel in that particular ACZ, where minimum is the mean of available land and the
required land for production.
Table : Counties with Low and High Land Ceilings
County Low Maximum
Ceiling in Ha.
County High Maximum
Ceiling in Ha
Vihiga 0.46 Marsabit 133.5
Kisii 0.54 Tana River 82.6
Kiambu 0.54 Isiolo 81.0
Nyamira 0.69 Wajir 64.0
Kakamega 0.84 Turkana 57.1
Kirinyaga 0.96 Samburu 44.4
Muranga 0.99 Garissa 44.2
Lamu 27.9
TaitaTaveta 24.1
Mandera 20.7
5.2. Recommendations
8. Table 12above provides for the maximum land ceilings based on the assumption that the
number of households remains the same. However, population growth rate in Kenya has
been projected to be increasing rapidly; hence the recommendation that the model should
be used to revise the land holding acreage after every population census. In this view, the
government in conjunction with the political elite should encourage people from high
population density counties to acquire and develop land in other counties where land is
available on willing buyer, willing seller principle as provided for in the Kenyan
constitution. The land ceilings can be refined further if information is disaggregated up to
ward levels since there are likely to be variations in agro-ecological zones between
different wards in a given county.
9. With respect to the minimum land ceilings it should be a general rule that no sub-division
of land below 1.0 hectare in all the ACZs should be allowed. However, in the counties
where the total land available falls under one ACZ, for instance Vihiga and Bomet, and
subdivisions have occurred below 1.0 hectare,then the calculated acreages as in Table 12
45 | P a g e
above will be adopted as both the minimum and maximum ceilings.However, for
purposes of food security, the country should endeavor to encourage land consolidation
where land subdivision has gone below the set minimum acreage.
10. In the case of counties with different ACZs, Like Samburu among others, then the total
land area will be used to provide the maximum land holding acreage. The land holding
acreage per household in each ACZ will be adopted as the available land holding acreage
for these counties, hence minimum land holding computed as explained in section 4.2
above. Therefore, such counties will have different minimum land holding acreage
depending on the number of ACZs occurring within the county. Therefore, it is
recommended that land ceilings can be based on the predominant ACZs (above 70%) of
total county land area (Table 6 and Table 12).
11. The modelling has been done for rural land in Kenya, otherwise, for urban land; the
ceilings should be guided by the zoning regulations under the Physical Planning Act
(1996).
12. While the ceilings target to include the landless in property regime, for larger economic
goals it may be necessary to create exemption categories that could be commodity sector
specific, agro-ecological specific, land-use specific or ownership type specific (e.g. large
scale farming, forestry, etc).
13. Commercial Agriculture should be considered on its merit in terms of economic benefit
to be derived from each type of economic activity in respective County.Each case should
be appraised as an application based on its economic viability subject to approval by
respective approvingagencies.
14. For the above proposals to work public sensitization is highly recommended on the need
for the land ceilings for the purposes of food security, gender, culture and inter and intra
generation concerns in line with the constitution and other relevant legislation.
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... sharp increase in demand for alternative land uses, especially in areas near urban centres, expansion of crop and livestock frontiers into marginal areas, environmental degradation and institutional structures that are not well tailored to handle the emerging land pressures), the rising population growth, along with the concomitant rapid sub-division of farm holdings, is perhaps the most prominent Muyanga & Jayne 2014). Concerns that the sub-division of farms into uneconomical units could be a factor explaining the decline in agricultural productivity have led to attempts by some countries to legislate on minimum farm holding (Syagga & Kimuyu 2016). This view is consistent with a wider strand of recent literature that appears to cast doubts on the viability of a smallholder-led strategy pathway for poverty reduction (e.g. ...
... In pursuance of this provision, the Land Laws (Amendments) Bill was published in 2015, but was not enacted due to a lack of consensus among stakeholders. There were also concerns that the proposals in the Bill did not account for socio-economic and environmental factors driving land use, suitability and productivity (Syagga & Kimuyu 2016). As shown in Table 4, the other factorsapart from farm sizehaving an influence on TE include access to extension, the age of the tea plants, education and the share of family labour applied in tea production. ...
Article
The inverse farm size and productivity relationship (IR) is a recurring theme in the literature. However, most previous studies were undertaken within a setting of mixed cropping systems. In this article, we investigate the effect of farm size on productivity within the context of a perennial monocropping system, acute competition for farmland, frequent subdivision of farms and declining yields. We apply household survey data of smallholder tea farms in western Kenya and consider both technical efficiency (TE) and the yield per hectare as indicators of productivity. The findings show that the effect of farm size on productivity is nonlinear, with TE initially declining and then rising with farm size. The findings also demonstrate that the farm size and productivity relationship is important for perennial monocrops and that the use of robust measures of productivity is important for the IR. The findings have important implications for agricultural policy in developing countries.
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