The effects of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism on the food security in Osupuko Division: a case of Olchoro Oirua, Lemek, and Koyaki group ranches
Munya, C. Stella
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This was a survey research whose purpose was to establish the state of food security in Osupuko division in Narok district and to determine the effect of wildlife conservation and aspects of the tourism industry on food security. Kenya experiences an increasing demand for food accompanied by a less than proportionate increase in supply. This results in recurrent local and widespread national food shortage which are particularly severe in the arid and semi-arid areas. The Maasai Mara is one such are where the country's short and long term food problems are prevalent. The situation is made critical by the increasing importance of the tourism industry with little or emphasis on the food security in the area. The study area composed of three (3) group ranches in Osupuko division, Narok district namely Lemek, Koyaki and Olchoro Oirua. Both qualitative and quantitative research designs were used to collect data from a number of decision makers in local Maasai homesteads, wildlife conservation experts and government officials. Data collecting instruments included semi-structured interview schedules and observation check lists. The data was analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the quantitative data. The quantitative data was analyzed following this rigid format: all interview questionnaire tapes were reconstructed into written notes, then attempts were made to rank attitudinal views into classes and to attribute them to a segment of text by reviewing and dissecting the text meaningfully, while keeping the relations between ideas and/ or variables intact. Pattern coding was done to reduce large amounts of data into smaller sets, themes or constructs to make them self-explanatory for deducing inferences. Memos were then used to tie together different pieces of data into a recognizable cluster to be able to identify and isolate those variables that depict instances of a general concept. A display format was then used to compress and order data to permit coherent inferences, and then meanings were drawn and inferences verified from a particular configuration of data in the display by noting patterns, themes and making contrasts and comparisons and finally reaching conclusions. The findings showed that the area experiences chronic food insecurity which is made worse by pressure from the expanding tourism industry and wildlife conservation laws which prohibit cultivating and grazing of livestock in protected areas. Thus a big proportion of Maasai grazing land is off limits for the Maasai people without adequate compensation for the loss, yet land is central to food production through agriculture and livestock keeping. In addition the major beneficiaries of wildlife conservation have been the national government and the tourism industry. Only a small proportion of the earnings that go to the government or the county councils reach the local people. Since they rely mainly on food purchase from the markets and their livestock for sustenance, this unreliable income is inadequate to meet their food needs. Hence food insecurity . The study recommended development strategies that meet human needs with food security and nutrition as a central goal and at the same time conserves wildlife.