A livestock intensification project being implemented in the South West Mau region in Kenya. It is funded primarily by IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative and co-funded by three private sector organisations who are also implementing partners: KTDA (Kenya Tea Development Agency), JFK (James Finlay Kenya Limited) and Rhino Ark.
Community members living by forest areas are by law allowed to have livestock graze in the forest. However, due to lack of sufficient monitoring and control, insufficient appreciation of the value of the forest and lack of alternative livelihood options for communities living along the North Eastern boundary of the SW Mau Forest Block, the forest area is overgrazed. Overgrazing has been identified as the key cause of forest degradation which in turn results in depletion of the forest cover and delayed regeneration. It is estimated that 17 263 heads of cattle are grazing in the forest as opposed to a carrying capacity of 4005 units.
The project ISLA II (July 2019 – December 2020) will apply an integrated approach towards addressing the livestock challenge in the SW Mau Forest. This will entail combining the livestock intensification approach with engagement of Kenya Forest Service (KFS) the Community Forest Association (CFA) and other stakeholders to implement a comprehensive grazing plan.
Based on the comprehensive grazing plan developed under the pilot, the project aims to introduce a quota system for livestock that is allowed to enter and graze in the forest based on an established carrying capacity of the forest, and to strengthen the structures for monitoring forest grazing by KFS and Ndoinet CFA. At the same time the project aims to support community members with marketing their excess cattle, in order to ensure smooth transition to and maintain a semi-intensified livestock farming system and reduction of livestock in the forest
- Ensure an integrated approach to addressing the livestock challenge.
- Strengthen local structures (Community Forest Associations and Grazing Committees) to support in the supervision and monitoring of controlled forest grazing based on determined forest carrying capacity.
- Support community members to cull their cattle to a sustainable level of herd and support them to sale off the excess livestock.
- Support current pilot dairy farmers to adopt lessons learned in the pilot phase and to carry out livestock farming sustainably even beyond the project period and to continue protecting the forest.
- 1. Implement the sustainable grazing plan. This is an approach provided for by law but has not been implemented in the larger Mau Ecosystem. This project will demonstrate this new approach can be implemented and scaled.
- 2. Strengthen local structures (CFA and Grazing Committees), an innovative approach towards making sure that local community structures can sustain agreed grazing plans through supervision and monitoring.
- 3. Support community members to cull their cattle to a sustainable level of herd through supporting them to sale off the excess livestock with intensifying dairy production systems achieves the twin goal of protecting the forest and improving livelihoods. This is a direct way of reducing pressure on the forest in the short term while this and related projects work towards long term reduction of livestock in the forest.
- 1. Reduced dependency on the forest for grazing.
- 2. Involvement of the community through the Community Forest Association-CFA, in supervising and monitoring forest grazing.