In recent years the population/development debate has shifted to consideration of the adequacy of resources to meet the accelerating population growth especially in developing countries. In the second area of concern the problem has been the adverse impact of the rate of population growth on availability of land.
The history of Kenya's population growth clearly shows a steep rise from just after World War II to the late 1970s. In quantitative terms the rate of population growth has increased from just about 2% per annum to almost 4% per annum. The cause of the accelerated growth of population lies in the rising fertility and in particular to the sharp reduction in mortality and foetal loss as a result of development process.
The rise in growth rate has taken place at different rates in accordance with limited areas of medium and low potential land. The implications of the spatial differential rates of growth include a significant decline in land availability and acceleration in the rate of soil loss. Equally more important is pressure on available water and wood fuel resources.
In terms of policy options, Kenya must accommodate itself to continued acceleration of population growth and increasing pressure on land resources. The policy options include a rise of land in the main productive heartland of the country and water management policy that will permit an enlargement of agricultural land in the semi-arid and arid zones which constitute almost 2/3 of the land area. However, a permanent solution must rely in development of human resources and in the moderation of population growth.