Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s proposal to revert to the Shamba system has elicited mixed reactions from a section of Kenyans.
On Saturday, Gachagua hinted that President William Ruto’s government is considering the idea of allowing farmers to carry out crop cultivation in forests to boost 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,” Gachagua said.
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.
I would find it extremely difficult to disagree with Prof Wangari Mathai ” Khalwale said.
Singer and former presidential hopeful Reuben Kigame said the proposal is a bad idea at a time Kenya and the world is fighting climate change caused by environmental degradation.
“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,” Kigame said.
His sentiments were also echoed by lawyer Miguna Miguna, who said the DP “must avoid these kinds of roadside declarations. Farming in forests is a very bad idea.”
Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi also compared the Shamba System to a form of land grabbing.
However, others backed the move, saying it will help increase forest cover in the country and boost food production.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the move is welcome as it will help grow forests, and that it will be smoothly carried to avoid logging.
“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,” Cherargei said.
“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,” economist David Ndii weighed in
Other Kenyans too agreed with Rigathi.
“Before you all attack DP Rigathi Gachagua, i suggest you do a little research. The shamba system involves farmers tending tree saplings on state-owned forest land in return for being permitted to intercrop perennial food crops until canopy closure.” Kiprono wrote