The water and land footprint of meat and milk production and consumption in Kenya: sustainability and food security


Persons involved:
Caroline Bosire (PhD student)
Prof. Dr Arjen Y. Hoekstra (promoter) Maarten.S. KrolDr. Jan de Leeuw


Fresh water and bioproductive land are two natural resources necessary for sustaining human consumptive demand. Over the years, it has become apparent that the depletion of these resources to meet human beings demand, evidenced by incidences of groundwater depletion, soil loss, drying up of fresh water bodies and land degradation may become unsustainable if no interventions were put in place

The interaction between the socio-economic and ecological systems determines the level to which human demand on nature can continue to be sustained by the earth. This is most evident in the presently escalating consumption across the globe, attributed to increasing population and economic growth, and the concomitant changes in the levels of natural capital. These increases in population and income, and the associated urbanization and changes in consumption patterns, put pressure on production systems to adopt technologies that enhance production.

To present a coherent overview of the interaction between these socio-economic: population increase, urbanization, economic growth, consumption pattern and productivity advances, and biophysical: fresh water and land, aspects of the earth, this study will use two sustainability indicators: Water and Ecological footprints.

This study looks at the meat and milk consumption of a metropolitan area in a developing country and assesses the sustainability of this unit that has a high demand taking into consideration that ecological and socio-economic systems are not static. This will be useful in determining the resource requirements to sustain urbanization in a developing country and the limits to production in agricultural areas associated with unavailability of land and freshwater. This information is vital to support policy in outlining possible outcomes of the various trajectories in which urbanization takes and giving an indication of possible interventions that will facilitate effective use of natural resources for development.