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The Role Of Forestry In Poverty Alleviation In Kenya

Author: 
John Nyangena and Joseph Misati
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

The overall objective of this paper is to determine the role played by forestry in alleviating poverty in Kenya. It also seeks to examine and analyse the extent of poverty among people living in Cherangani Hills, West Pokot; assess the benefits of forestry to rural communities; investigate the relationship between forest dependence and poverty and to make policy recommendations on ways of enhancing the contribution of forests in alleviating poverty. Two methods were used to derive data for the study. Secondary data was obtained by review of existing literature related to the subject while primary data was obtained through a survey among 200 households. The survey was based on Multistage sampling procedure. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire, an interview schedule and discussions with key informants and analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis techniques. The findings revealed that 69.5% of the population had incomes falling below the official poverty line. Two categories of forest products had a net effect on rural poverty; timber products were mainly commercialized and traded by people with sufficient capital, while the poor mainly utilized non-timber forest products. The findings further revealed a significant positive relationship between poverty level and household size. There was a significant difference in poverty level among households having forestry as a source of income compared with those without it. On the basis of these findings, it was concluded that forests act to ameliorate the incidence of poverty in the study area. It was recommended that to further enhance this contribution, it was imperative to undertake conservation programmes that were sensitive and responsive to community needs and that aimed to strike a balance between utilization level of forest resources and their renewable rate.

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