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The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) on which the range management division focuses on, make up over 80 per cent of Kenya's total land surface, support over 25 per cent of the human population and over half the livestock population. These areas are characterised by a very fragile ecosystem with scarce and erratic rainfall. Successful ASAL development and management requires knowledge of the resource base, i.e. type, location, potential, status, degree and history of utilization. For a long time now, planning for sustainable resource management in the face of limited financial capital has been a major challenge. All these are compounded by recurring droughts, reduced forage and degradation of the environment on which they depend on.
Traditional mitigation strategies have been weakened by social economic changes. Severe drought events have had a serious impact on ASAL communities, increasing their vulnerability to poverty and threatening the long-term viability of their livelihoods and natural resource base. Widespread poverty among these communities with low asset base is compounded by poor infrastructure, lack of organised market systems including the lack of market information. The HIV/AIDS scourge is also spreading to the ASAL communities and affecting the most productive members.
The main economic activity of the ASALs is nomadic pastoralism, which utilizes 24.2 million hectares (50 percent), while ranching and other livestock keeping utilizes 15.1 million hectares (31 percent.) The remaining 9.1 million hectares or 19 percent is used for agriculture including agro-pastoralism
To lead in ensuring livelihood security for pastoralists and Agro-pastoralists through sustainable utilization of the available natural resources in the ASAL
To ensure that the ASALs that make 80% of the country contribute significantly to the country's GDP by maximising the utilisation of available resources and use of appropriate technologies through community capacity building, participatory planning and decision making for optimal livestock development.
Functions and Mandates
These are defined as:
a) Technical guidance in formulation, implementation, monitoring and updating of ASAL policy.
b) Direction, coordination and management of all technical matters relating to range management, range development, range improvement and environment conservation
c) Guidance to ranchers and pastoralists on matters relating to proper livestock grazing systems.
d) Coordination of Range development projects
e) Collaboration with relevant agencies in range and livestock research, wildlife activities and water development for livestock use.
f) Collection of livestock and environmental data, analysis and evaluation for the purpose of drought monitoring, early warning systems and contingency planning.
g) Promotion and coordination of livestock improvement in rangelands and in particular camels and small livestock.
h) Member of inter-ministerial committee on land adjudication, environment, desertification, soil conservation, land use, IGAD
To provide technical guidance, supervision and backstopping to field officers and pastoralist/ranchers on matters relating to extension services in the rangelands.
Development Partners and NGOs operating in these areas include
Development partners include,
World Bank-Arid Lands Resource Management Programme, FAO-Early Warning Systems, USAID Famine Early Warning Systems, ADBÂ Community Based Livestock Early Warning System, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation), AU-IBAR, PACE - Kenya, Danida- Agricultural Support Projects, European Union
The NGOs are as follows:-
PLAN international, ADRA, VSF, Oxfarm, Farm-Africa, CLIP, RELMA, Action AID, etc.
The Division is headed by a Deputy Director Livestock Production (Chief Range Management Division) who is responsible to the Director of Livestock Production for all matters relating to Range Management in the country.
There are three Branches under this Division: -
1.?Pastoral & Ranching Development Services Branch Duties under this Branch include: -
Pastoral & Ranching Development Services section
2. Range Resource Development and Ecosystem monitoring? Branch
Duties under this Branch include: -
Range/Ranch Resources monitoring and Drought Monitoring Section
a) Range/Ranch Resources Monitoring Section
b) Drought Monitoring Section
c) Livestock Water Improvement
d) Firebreak and Dam construction and maintenance services Unit
3. Range Animal Production Branch
Duties under this Branch include:
a) Beef Production Services
b) Camel Production
PROVINCIAL OFFICE LEVEL
The provincial Range Management Officer is responsible through the Provincial Director of Livestock Production to the Chief of the Division for Co-ordination and direction for all matters relating to range management and development in the districts within the province.
DISTRICT OFFICE LEVEL
The District Range Management Officer is responsible through the District Livestock Production Officer to the PRMO for supervision and implementation of all matters concerning Range Management Extension, Range Development Projects and Range Improvement.
DIVISIONAL AND LOCATIONAL LEVELS
At the Divisional and Locational levels the DRMO is assisted by Assistant Livestock Production Officers (Range) and Technical Range Assistants respectively.
WORKING UNIT LEVEL
At the working unit level, frontline extension personnel include Livestock Production Assistants and Junior Animal Production Assistants. These are deployed in the ranches and grazing blocks and in sub-locations where there are no ranches and/or grazing blocks.
For information on range management contact,
Mr. A. O. Esmail:
Chief Range Management Division
Ngong Road, Hill Plaza Building, 8th Floor;
Box 34188, Nairobi;
Tel 020.2721005, 020 2722601/37,
Fax: 020 2721005,