Shamba system is a form of agro-forestry that encourages farmers to plant trees alongside their crops. Instead of cutting trees while planting, they are to maintain them and even plant more.
This initiative was introduced by the Kenya Forest Service. Its partially funded by the International development – USAID.
The targeted groups included the local communities who live within the forest area, serving and retired forest workers, squatters and any one with a piece of land near a forest area.
Negative effects of the Shamba System?
- The farmers started to clear the indigenous tree species. They no longer replanted trees.
- Politicization of the shamba system.
- Rise of the human-wildlife conflicts. The farmers moved deep into the forests.
- Farmers started to use heavy machinery.. The tools promoted destruction of soil structure and vegetation cover.
- Introduction of invasive and exotic species. The introduced trees species caused negative impacts to the native species.
- Illegal logging. More trees were cut and sold illegally.
- Reduced biodiversity in the forests.
- Land encroachment.
- Reduced water catchment areas and their quality.
The most affected forest areas in Kenya
The program was initiated to improve forest cover but instead, it contributed to forest degradation. The affected areas included:
- Mount Kenya
- Maji Mazuri
- Kabaru, Kibiri
- South Nandi
- Mt Elgon
- Mau forest
Possible ways of curbing negative consequences of Shamba System
- Ban of shamba system.
- Strict monitoring of activities with the allocated land.
- Promotion of conservation education and awareness.
- The involved parties to enlighten on how the shamba system should run.
- Curbing of land encroachment.