What Is Considered Agricultural Land In Kenya?

What Is Considered Agricultural Land In Kenya?

What Is Considered Agricultural Land In Kenya?

Agricultural land in Kenya refers to land that is used for farming activities such as growing crops, raising livestock, and other agricultural purposes.

According to the Land Control Act, agricultural land includes land that is arable, under permanent crops, or used as permanent pasture.

Some key facts about agricultural land in Kenya:

  • Around 48% of Kenya’s total land area was considered agricultural land as of 2020. This included permanent pastures, permanent crops, and arable land.
  • Only 15-17% of Kenya’s land has sufficient fertility and rainfall to be classed as prime agricultural land.
  • The Land Control Act requires approval for any transactions involving agricultural land. The Minister of Lands can also declare certain lands like those in municipalities to be agricultural lands.
  • Foreigners are restricted from owning agricultural land in Kenya directly. They can own shares in companies that own agricultural land.
  • Subdivision and fragmentation of agricultural lands is a problem, reducing economies of scale.
  • Climate change poses challenges for agricultural productivity on Kenya’s agricultural lands.

Types Of Agricultural Land In Kenya

Arable land, permanent crops, and permanent pastures constitute the bulk of agricultural land in Kenya based on this categorization.

Here is a summary breakdown of the different types of agricultural lands and their area in hectares:

The main types of agricultural land in Kenya are:

  • Arable land – land that can be used to grow crops. This may be left fallow periodically. Around 9.8 million hectares were classified as arable as of 2010.
  • Permanent crops – land used for crops that occupy the area for long periods like cocoa, coffee, rubber etc. Around 1.6 million hectares were permanent crops.
  • Permanent pastures – land used permanently for forage and grazing. This was the largest share at around 9.4 million hectares.
  • Forests and woodland – About 4.1 million hectares were forest and woodlands used for forestry activities.
  • Urban areas – Land occupied by infrastructure, housing and urban settings.

What Does Agricultural Zoning Allow?

Agricultural zoning refers to local land use designations that segregate agricultural land uses from other types of land use. The purpose is to conserve farmland and farming activities by preventing incompatible development.

Agricultural zoning typically requires large minimum lot sizes of 10 acres or more in order to discourage non-farm development.

 Farm dwellings and agricultural structures are usually permitted, but residential subdivisions and commercial uses are restricted.

Agricultural zoning ordinances may regulate things like setbacks, building sizes, and types of farming practices allowed. They aim to preserve prime farmland by limiting non-farm uses and maintaining large tracts of agricultural land.

Agricultural zoning is considered an important farmland protection tool, though it faces challenges like pressure for rural residential development. It works best when coordinated with other initiatives like PDR programs, circuit breaker tax programs, and right-to-farm laws.

Can You Farm On Residential Land?

Farming on residential land is possible in many areas, but there are some key considerations. The land must be zoned to allow agricultural uses, and local zoning laws will dictate what specific activities are permitted.

 Residential zones often allow limited livestock and crop production, but commercial-scale operations may be prohibited.

To utilize residential land for farming, the first step is checking your local zoning code. See what agricultural uses are allowed by-right or with permits/exceptions. Common allowed uses include gardens, small orchards, chickens, bees, etc. More intensive uses like dairy cows, pigs, or large fields of row crops may be restricted.

If the land is currently not zoned for any agriculture, you may need to apply for a zoning variance or work with the municipality to change the zoning designation. This allows more flexibility for farming activities. However, nearby residents may object to commercial-scale agriculture in a residential area.

When farming in a residential zone, be mindful of potential impacts on neighbors, like noise, odors, traffic, etc. Follow best practices to keep a small footprint and reduce nuisances. Location of structures, parking, and timing of operations can help minimize conflicts.

Generally, small-scale farming is often feasible on residential plots. But work within zoning allowances, get proper permits, and be a good neighbor. Larger operations may be better suited for land zoned specifically for agricultural use.


Related Posts

error: Content is protected !!