- Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has come under sharp criticism for revealing last week that the government will allow a return of the “shamba system”, that which permits the public to farm inside gazette forests.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has come under sharp criticism for revealing last week that the government will allow a return of the “shamba system”, that which permits the public to farm inside gazette forests.
While addressing Baringo residents, Gachagua intimated the new President William Ruto administration will allow farmers to cultivate crops in forests to enhance food production.
“There was ‘Shamba System’ where locals could plant maize until the trees grow. This government is yours. We have made an order for Wananchi to be given an opportunity to cultivate in the forest to have more food," the DP said to applause from residents.
However, leaders, including in his own Kenya Kwanza coalition, have bashed the DP for the position saying it spells doom for the country’s forest cover that is already in dire straits.
Among leaders in Kenya Kwanza who have lambasted Gachagua include lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Miguna Miguna.
Ahmednasir termed it an attempt to return land grabbing, Khalwale said it would sound a death knell to the country’s indigenous forests while Miguna termed it a bad idea.
Here are samples of those who opposed the idea:
Farming in gazetted forests is land grab ala Moi/KANU. FULL STOP.— Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC (@ahmednasirlaw) September 25, 2022
Am the Senator of Kakamega, home to Kakamega Forest, the only REMAINING, indigenous tropical rain forest out side the Congo of DRC & the Amazon of Brazil.— Dr Boni Khalwale, CBS (@KBonimtetezi) September 25, 2022
I would find it extremely difficult to disagree with Prof Wangari Mathai pic.twitter.com/DG9FPVqLLb
Another bad start for the new government. There goes our forests at a time we are fighting climate change. Please watch and help me say no to the grabbing of our forests. @mazingirayetu @MazingiraM @mazingirasafe @EcoMazingira @UNEP pic.twitter.com/nwiVOo8E5y— Reuben Kigame HSC (@ReubenKigame) September 24, 2022
However, some Kenyans led by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and economist David Ndii backed Gachagua’s proposal despite the bad history it has in Kenya before it was outlawed.
Here are some of those supporting the idea:
The binding constraint on increasing tree cover is not land. It is labour. Our agroforestry initiative is predicted on replicating the “shamba system” on private land. pic.twitter.com/8ZfjKtUrJZ— David Ndii (@DavidNdii) September 25, 2022
Shamba system shall accelerate 10% forest cover & it is in line with climate change policies, Also ensure food security therefore bringing down cost of living. There shall be no illegal logging,land grabbing. It will create community ownership & protection of forests in kenya.— Senator Kiprotich Arap Cherargei (@scherargei) September 24, 2022