Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2011

In Laikipia the key dynamics centre on absentee land, much of this being land that was divvied out to Kikuyu by Kenyatta after independence. Much of this land (particularly north of the 600mm rainfall band) is not viable for cultivation. However, it was used by the Kikuyu title-holders as collateral to acquire loans with the Agricultural Development Corporation and others. Maasai, Samburu and Pokot herders have been grazing this land since the 1970s. Now, former commercial ranch managers are setting up as brokers and are identifying the title holders of the absentee lands to convince them to consolidate their holdings and sell, as there is a new rush for land by foreign diplomats, aid workers, and even some Zimbabwean white farmers. The buyers of these consolidated plots are now fencing, which has created tensions understandably with the Maasai and other herders who have been using this land for a generation.

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