The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has rejected plans to establish agri-business farms within the Amboseli ecosystem in Kajiado.
Kajiado Nema director Joseph Kopejo said the watchdog rejected the proposals after realising the proposed farms are within the restricted areas as per ecosystem plan.
“We have so far rejected two proposed agricultural farms. We are analysing documents of three other companies, which have applied for the same. The land-use plan is anchored on the Amboseli ecosystem plan awaiting gazettement by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife,” he said.
Both local and foreign developers have acquired big chunks of land eyeing to set up multi-million agri-business farming enterprises.
Several companies and individuals have applied for Nema approval to carry out agricultural activities within the Kimana wildlife circuit that comprises several private wildlife conservancies and Amboseli National park — which has jurisdiction over Amboseli National park.
Recently, land sub-division, farming, towns and villages have reduced the area available for wildlife and pastoralism in the Amboseli ecosystem.
The Kaputei area is heavily settled and fenced, cutting off wildlife migratory routes. Namelok and Kimana swamps, Lolturesh River down through the Soit Pus swamp and areas around Iltilal have also been allocated for settlement and farming.
To safeguard the wildlife and tourism in the area, stakeholders recently developed the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan 2020-2030. The plan protects migratory routes and stipulates different parcels of land use plan restricting farming within the Kimana wildlife circuit.
Mr Kopejo said Nema would not allow any farming or development in non-designated areas. A warning has been issued to individuals conducting farming in the area without Nema approvals, which might force some farms to halt operations.
“Nema will not be used as a rubber stamp by selfish individuals. We will carry our mandate objectively as stipulated in the law. Systems will be rolling out once the plan becomes law by an act of gazettement,” he said.
Amboseli Land Owners Conservancy Association chairman Samuel Kaangi said land subdivision in the area threatens wildlife existence.
“A section of our people feels they have not reaped enough benefits for conserving wildlife from the government. Most continue to dispose of their land to developers eyeing the land for agriculture and hospitality industry, endangering wildlife,” he said.