Using remote sensing techniques for rural development planning in Kenya : a study in Meru District
The thesis sets out to examine the utility of remote sensing techniques in helping to define recommendation domains relatively homogeneous agricultural areas - to act as foci for agricultural development planning in lower Meru, Kenya. Recommendation domains are used in farming systems research (FSR) for agricultural research and development initiatives enabling greater participation from rural producers within the development process. Recommendation domains are defined by agricultural potential (agro-ecological zones) and farming systems (agro-economic groupings). A multilevel approach incorporating Landsat MSS data, 1:50,000 stereo panchromatic air photography, large scale aerial colour slide photography and ground surveys is used to collect data on the farming systems of the study area. Relatively homogeneous farming patterns are identified and mapped using a number of different computer software packages. These patterns are related to previously identified zones of agricultural potential (agro-ecological zones) to define recommendation domains for new agricultural development initiatives in the area. Several domains are identified for specific attention. Recommendations are made which are relevant to both national and district level agricultural planning in Kenya. It is suggested that future development programmes should focus on areas undergoing population movement and cultivation change since without careful planning these changes are likely to detrimentally affect the local farming systems and natural environment.