SO 2: Increased rural household incomes.
As has been proven time and again, poverty is a major “driver” of environmental degradation. SO 2 aims to address that cause of degradation by helping raise agricultural household incomes. The program will work through targeted sub-sector technology improvements, for example in dairy and horticultural production, in high potential agroecosystem areas.
Population pressures and inappropriate land tenure policies have led to rapid subdivision of these areas into plots too small to support most livestock and even much agriculture. These areas are increasingly an originating point for migration of farming households to lower productivity lands, including rangelands which are better suited to wildlife needs. These areas are also subject to rapid deforestation, both in degazetted and protected areas. A major threat to forests in Kenya is conversion to agricultural use. Thus agricultural households in high productivity areas need assistance in intensifying land use and raising incomes where they are, rather than moving farther into forested areas or into lowlands where wildlife roam and productivity is less.
SO 2 addresses these issues at the core through its income-generation objectives. In addition, SO 2 implementers will site their activities based on the appropriateness of existing ecosystems, and will plan activities to minimize negative impacts on land, water, and soil resources. Plans are also in place to establish a linkage with the Mission’s biodiversity and natural resources management-oriented SO 4 to share information about natural resources management issues in geographic and thematic areas of interest to both SO Teams. Most importantly, they plan to provide guidelines on protecting the natural resources upon which agriculture depends, through farmers’ groups and associations, export extension workers, and other means, at the same time that guidelines for agricultural technologies are being delivered. This information-sharing process will be carefully integrated into the program and systematically conducted by SO 2 partners to prevent environmental problems. As social status in rural communities is often directly linked to income levels as well as other factors, and as social status can influence people to adopt sustainable behaviors, these discussions will be extended, as appropriate, to involve other stakeholders in target agroecosystems, such as pastoralists, women’s groups, and others dependent on the natural resource base.
In some locations, particularly those near to or overlapping with SO 4 target areas, SO 2 plans to implement a more thorough option – providing input to SO 4 land use/community resource management plans (IR 4.1.2). This approach ensures that a broad perspective on environmental, social, and economic sustainability is captured, and that programs are harmonized with the Agency’s sustainable development goals. These land use plans may also be utilized to illustrate the need for a range of policy improvements to support sustainable enterprise, including agriculture, in Kenya. From the agricultural perspective, such plans could help highlight systemic problems, such as extensification and subdivision of land, an increased need for market access, more environment-friendly technologies, and better support for smallholder producers. As noted, they can also help SO 2 implementing partners to avoid environmental and social problems that have encumbered some agricultural programs in the past; e.g., abusing toxic insecticides that pollute sensitive downstream waterways; addressing the wrong “farmers” – i.e., husbands instead of wives, where women are the primary growers; creating pockets of wealth and thereby also social divisions in formerly close-knit communities; etc. Where land use planning is not practicable, SO 2 will conduct a planning process on a smaller scale to help its customers understand the context in which their growing decisions are made; for example, they may conduct stakeholder analyses, participatory income surveys, or farming systems assessments in conjunction with agricultural training for growers’ associations to launch discussion and collect information.
SO 3: Reduce fertility and the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission through sustainable, integrated family planning and health services.
As a strategic objective developed to address USAID Global goals in health, population and nutrition, this SO is relatively self-standing, i.e., without strong cross-sectoral linkages. SO 3 will include only limited explicit environmentally-focussed activities or approaches. Nevertheless, it can be considered to be an
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