Pokot in Kenya intensify production through agropastoralism
Land-use and livelihood patterns among Eastern African pastoralists have undergone dramatic change in recent decades, as illustrated by the dynamics in East Pokot. The article “Agricultural change at the margins: adaptation and intensification in a Kenyan dryland” by Clemens Greinera & Innocent Mwakab, published in 2016 in the Journal of Eastern African Studies 10 (1): 130–149, focuses on the spread and intensification of honey production and crop farming by the Pokot people.
The authors refer to the dynamics of adaptation in East Pokot as agricultural intensification rather than diversification. They see diversification as risk-spreading processes that can be discarded when these risks disappear, whereas intensification implies more profound societal change. They argue that the dynamics of agricultural change in East Pokot, exemplified by the intensification of beekeeping and crop farming, are related to population growth, mediated by a range of factors that include availability of labour, technology and markets as well as the local agroecological conditions. Intensification may therefore take several different paths within the same community. The authors’ observations revealed amazing capacities of adaptation and potentials for transformation among people who have often been regarded as traditional and resistant to change.