Farmer response to population pressure on lland: a case study of Kikuyu division, Kiambu, Kenya.
Gaiti, David Maina
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This study had a four-fold purpose: (a) To undertake a historical search for the causes and evolution of population pressure in Kikuyu Division, (b) To examine the relationship between out-migration, fertility control, generation of off-farm sources of income and population pressure and (c) To test Boserup's thesis that increasing population pressure leads to more intensive land use. Both primary and secondary data were collected to achieve the objectives listed above. Primary data were collected using a questionnaire and oral interviews. Questionnaires elicited data on farmer characteristics and responses to land pressure. Secondary data helped to trace the evolution of land pressure in the study area. Data were analysed by use of averages, percentages, frequencies, correlation, the chi-square test and linear regression. The study established that the current population pressure is due to land rights dispossession, land consolidation and registration of title of the period 1952-1955 and net increase in population. The respondents are aware of the presence of population. Pressure on land. Birth control was significantly related to land pressure. Out migration as an adjustment strategy was insignificant. Farmers adjusted to land pressure by changing livestock feeding systems, vertical space use, and increasing cropping density. Land pressure and soil husbandry practices are not necessarily related. From the findings, it is concluded that land pressure can be eased by reversing some contributory factors such as availing the productively inefficient estates for purchase by small-scale farmers. Innovative adjustments to population pressure observed herein should be publicised and disseminated to reach the wider audience. It needs to be further impressed upon the public that the land resource is non-elastic and the need to control population growth rates is great and urgent. Areas for further research by scholars are also given.