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PREM Working Paper 06-06 - Household Welfare, Investment in Soil and Water Conservation and Tenure Security: Evidence From Kenya
In Kenya, conservation and sustainable utilization of the environment and natural resources form an integral part of national planning and poverty reduction efforts. However, weak environmental management practices are a major impediment to agricultural productivity growth. This study was motivated by the paucity of literature on the poverty-environment nexus in Kenya, since poverty, agricultural stagnation and environmental degradation are issues of policy interest in the country’s development strategy. The paper builds on the few existing studies from Kenya and explores the impact of household, farm and village characteristics as well as the development domain dimensions on household welfare and investment in soil and water conservation. The results show that strengthening the tenure security improves household welfare. Further, soil quality, topography and investments in soil and water conservation affect household welfare. Agroecological potential, which is related to environmental conservation, is also a key correlate of poverty. Results for investment in water and soil conservation confirm the importance of tenure security in determining adoption and also the intensity of SWC investments. We also find that household assets, farm characteristics, presence of village institutions and development domain dimensions are important determinants of adoption and intensity of soil and water conservation investments. The results for both poverty and investment in soil and water conservation suggest the existence of a strong poverty-environment link in our sample. The results also suggest that rural poverty can be alleviated by policies that improve environmental conservation and strengthen land tenure security. The study also underscores the importance of village institutions in both investment adoption of soil and water conservation and in improving household welfare.
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